Where’s My Zone?

Yesterday, the day before, the day before that, and days upon days before those have resulted in a grand total of – not much.  Not much when it came to working on the latest project.  Not much when it came to adding new words, plot points, figuring out my characters next move.  Talk about confusion, disarray and angst.  Here I am with one hundred and ten pages of this latest work, and having a real time moving it forward.  I have all these ideas in my head that won’t transfer onto “paper,” or when they do, I hit the delete key, and <poof> they are gone.

Then, instead of persevering, I find myself using the excuse of drifting around on FB, blogs, writing flash fiction, working in the yard, or… taking pictures.

Bundle RV Trip 9 2013

Fall 2013

Yeah.  Taking pictures.  Yet, while I’m doing all of this other stuff, I’m thinking about writing.  I can’t say I’m stuck.  It’s not that.  I don’t know what it is, but every time I open the ms and begin to work, I shut down mentally.  I tap out a few words and stare.  I re-read what I have, hoping it will spark the “zone,” but I’m so far out of it, I feel like I need a map, or ought to be able to Google “where’s my zone?”

In my last post, in the last paragraph I said I write “at will.”  Which generally means, I sit down and write when I feel like it, which since this whole thing started has been every single day for the past three years.  Then I took that break in mid October.  I didn’t touch my project for two weeks – not once.  Maybe I’m the sort of writer who can’t take those long breaks when I’m in the middle of something.  I wouldn’t know because after finishing the first project, I went right to the second, hot and heavy on the schedule.  Then, I fired up a third, and after a few hiccups, here I am.  Eight months into it, and…, feeling sort of uninspired at the moment.

Someone said, “Maybe you’re burned out.  Maybe you ought to take a break.”

But…, I just did.”

“Well, maybe you need a longer break.”

“Wait.  I can’t take off time indefinitely.  I’ve got only a finite amount here, whether I like it or not.”

So, today, I’ll open the ms up (after I get off this blog!  🙂  ) and get to work.  Each day I do this, I say to myself, look, don’t open FB, don’t visit any blogs just yet, (I’ve already cheated there!), and don’t be so flipping critical of where you are with this story at the moment.   Just write, no matter what.

Just write, no matter what?  Does that work for you?



Also, and a little bit off topic, I’ve found that if I go somewhere different from where I normally write — the library, a truck stop (really), my son’s apartment — I tend to spot all kinds of typos and errors in the writing that I miss. I really think the change of venue allows me to have a fresh perspective.


    Change in venue really helps me. My desk chair faces a corner, yes I write in a corner, it’s a long story, well not really a story in the story sense but…never mind, anyway when I want to edit hard copy I just pivot my chair, wheely about three feet and wah-lah I am sitting at the table in my amazing kitchen…a change in venue. Facing the stove and fridge opens up my mind and my mouth apparently, because I usually snack while I edit. I can type and eat a WW fudgecicle at the same time. I have pivoted and wheelied so many times that the finish on the floor is worn down to bare wood.

    BTW Donna I read the WD piece about getting stuck in the middle. I fell asleep while reading it. It wasn’t a refection on the writing, I was simply exhausted. I’m going up to bed now and am going to finish the article. I just got home from work, seven and a half hours on my feet, hauling my ass and making pretty with heavy stuff. Now, if only I can figure out where I left off when I nodded off,


    After I read your comment, I thought about the places I’ve written, and here they are. The side porch, the front porch, upstairs, downstairs and in Mississippi at my mother in law’s kitchen table. But, to the point of seeing things differently I made the “grand” discovery of printing out my pages (which most have been doing f.o.r.e.v.e.r.) and that’s how I spot mistakes.

    Btw, I’ve been wanting to try those, what did you call them, leg compression sock things that you run in…maybe for winter, but for summer?? I’d have one weird looking tan.


      Try calf sleeves first. I wear them to keep my shin splints under control (seems to work), but they feel wonderful anyway, especially AFTER a long run when I’m relaxing. Also, a lot of athletes wear them on airplanes since it’s — ironically — athletes who are most susceptible to blood clots. (I also wear compression shorts under my running shorts, and not only for the “guy reason.” They are supposed to wrangle the muscles in my thighs to make them work more efficiently. Also, they reduce chafing in critical areas. And I look like a more serious runner in them. Many of the women in my running club wear them.)

      Compression socks are about the same thing as calf sleeves, only they compress your feet (and toes) as well as your calves, which you probably don’t need. They’re more expensive and much harder to put on than calf sleeves. Plus, they’re the first sox I’ve ever owned with dedicated right and left sides.


    Calf sleeves – got it, I gotta try those! And maybe the other item too – although my long runs at this point don’t exist. Much like with the stress fx I had, I’m now paranoid about piling on the miles too soon now that the PF is so much better. My goal is to be back up to a six mile run on Sat’s maybe by spring…I’d like to get back to my 10 miles, but…will have to see.


Yep, that’s pretty much me right now too. I open the file and stare at the words and wonder where the flame is. But I also just write. Once I start tinkering, something of the old magic seems to come back, and the longer I’m at it, the better it gets.


    I plan to hunker down and “tinker” today…getting my first cup of coffee, then, getting OFF the blog (!!), and seeing what happens. It will be a good day if I resolve this particular plot point I’ve been flitting around for days now.


Yup, I write no matter what, on my blog, your blog, Averil’s blog, FB…and then I work on my column, a column idea, an email to a friend…and then I notice I have less than an hour before I have to leave for work so I feverishly jump into the manuscript and I’m off and running and …then I have to go to work.
When I started this project a few weeks ago I was on fire, did a hundred pages in less than a week and then… it’s hard getting back in. I too am up to 110 pages. My excuse is that I had to plan a baby shower for thirty, clean the house and have the shower. But that was last Saturday, it was awesome, and now…
This month in WD there’s an article, I think, about this very dilemma. I should be writing but I think I’ll go find my WD.


    Crap, that’s where I’ll be next week…not thirty, but about 18 family members coming for Thanksgiving. I’m saying, “self, better write now b/c next week it will you and the stove, instead of you and the laptop. I just got WD. Will have to look!


I find that it helps to go somewhere that you can’t access the internet as easily (coffee shops where I have to make an effort to get on wifi are great). I have the rule that I don’t have to write, but I can’t do anything else. Also, it helps to not delete anything in the first draft (although I will add notes in brackets about possibly deleting a section). It helps you to write more freely when you aren’t revising as you go that way. I’m sure you’ll figure it out!


    Hi Christi,

    That’s a great idea…except knowing me, I’d been chatting it up with my caffeine high in full swing. LOL! I sometimes work downstairs at my house, b/c it’s “harder” to get on wifi. The service in the kitchen is intermittent at best due to plaster walls (yep, the house is over 100 years old). Either way, thanks for the vote of confidence, and I also like that you said don’t delete anything. Makes sense…I might feel differently about something tomorrow.


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