The zone: that mental state where creativity, skill, consciousness, and subconsciousness meet, and time has no meaning. When we are in the zone, everything seems to flow without a hiccup, and our fingers work tirelessly to keep up with the endless stream of thoughts.
I don’t know how to get into the zone (it seems to just happen, like getting into a groove), but I sure know how to get out of it!
When I’m at home, productivity seems to avoid me worse than an agent/publisher to a new writer. I have too many distractions—rooms to clean, dishes to wash, clothes to fold, coffee to make, food to cook…oh, what’s this…a cupboard filled with twice as many plastic lids as containers? Let’s organize it! Wait…did I just hear Facebook and Twitter call me? Okay, Plato (my dog), I’ll play with you…
After I make one more cup of coffee.
Let’s face it, life is distracting!
I try to create atmospheres that mitigate that annoying aspect of being at home, but life doesn’t seem to care. My favorite places to write are coffee shops and dive bars, where everybody knows your name. I don’t have any of the creature comforts at home, demanding my attention, and I get to distract myself with people watching. Plus, both locales have my favorite beverages—coffee, beer, and coffee. I like going there when I know what I want to write, or I have revisions. But I don’t often find myself inspired in those places. For that, I seek nature.
I like to imagine nature as places of pure, untainted energy; cities and metropolises as places of chaotic, tainted energy. The further removed you are from the city, the cleaner, less chaotic the energy (I don’t know if that’s true, or not, this is really just apocryphal). Whenever I go for a hike or wander about the woods, I feel re-energized, like all the tainted energy is purged and I stand upon the world as a new man. Being in nature inspires me to write. It demands that I open my laptop, or take out my pen and notebook and write-write-write!
Everyone has their own distractions and places of inspiration. As you’re going about finding yours, try to let yourself discover them rather than trying to force it to be what you want. It would be truly serendipitous if my place of inspiration and preferred place of writing were the same locations, but they’re not. I “fuel my cells” in nature, and “drain” them in the coffee shops.
Find your writing zone, find your inspiration zone, if you’re lucky they’ll be one in the same.