Monday, June 29, 2009

Speed Bumps in The Zone

Saturday was a 'Wahoo!' writing day for me. Over 2,000 words. (2, 047 to be exact.) Followed by Sunday with a thrilling er, well not-so-thrilling, 366 words. Followed by today with . . . well, it's not over. Right?

What happened? I quit Saturday night because my eyes were getting tired. My new reading eye (LASIK was about nine days old on Saturday) yelled "Uncle!" and I gave in and closed down.

But that's such a lying stretch of foolishness. I've had good writing days in the past with lousy writing days following shortly thereafter. And I can only blame a pooped eye on one of them.

Part of it is fear. The 'zone' puts me on such a high, I'm afraid a) I'll get there and never come down, or b) I'll never find it again.

Time for a Reality Check.

James Scott Bell has a wonderful remedy for any kind of writing reluctance. He does the Nifty 350, or the Furious 500. It's bichoking (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keys) with a short-term target. When he first sits down to write, he goes for his Nifty 350 (or 250 or 450) and then has something very positive already done to kind of jump start his next bichok moment. Which comes easier because, well, look at what he's already accomplished for the day.

Giving yourself a good reason to pat yourself on the back is always effective. Just make sure it's a pat you believe in.

The zone comes and goes. Some days it's elusive, other days it threatens to devour me (how cool are those days?), but I can always tuck myself in for a Nifty 350.


JF: Die For You by Lisa Unger who I discovered thanks to Jenny Milchman.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Every morning (or at least every morning I write, and I don't write every day, advice to the contrary be darned) my kids say: Good luck jumping off the cliff, mommy!

    The possibility always exists that rather than finding buoyant wafts of air to lift me higher and higher, I might simply...crash. Fall smack on my face, tears jumping to my eyes, nose smarting.

    It happens every time that I have to make a leap of faith. Believe that the parachute will open. Believe I won't come crashing down.

    After a day when it's flown me to the moon/given me 2000 + words? Boy, is it hard to dare ask for that again.

    But it will be there. If not the very next day, then the next. Or the next.

    Good luck jumping off the cliff...

  2. Too funny. I was sharing (via email) with my completely fabulous, you're-crazy-if-you-don't-love-her granddaughter a little while ago about the concept of stepping out in faith. Just walking off that cliff.

    I should've known I didn't have much to teach her anymore.

    My completely-beyond-me granddaughter emailed me back the picture that had been hanging in her room (she's just finished her second year of law school) . . . a beautiful black woman in a flowing dress, blindfolded and about to step of a cliff. Clouds (if I remember right) sort of form what looks like the hand of God.

    Too cool.

    Working on my Too-Cool 200 at the moment.