Saturday, September 12, 2015
Writing consists of much more than hitting the keys. Much of the process is fermentation, thinking about plot, characters, and dialogue. Those who do not write often mistake this for lollygagging, procrastination, or just plain laziness. But dreaming, whether day or night, is a vital part of concocting a plausible tale. How often do readers ask, "How do you come up with this stuff?" Well, we dream, and often we dream of hitting The Zone.
The Zone is that intensive immersion in the story where all you think about is getting it down. Words rush and tumble through the mind in a flash flood, urgently insisting to become translated to black and white symbols upon a page. Time becomes translucent, disappearing altogether until, looking up from the monitor, you realize you haven't moved for three or four hours. This is called Communing With One's Muse. And woe to those who disturb a writer dwelling in The Zone.
Nothing irritates me more than when I'm typing as fast as my fat, arthritic fingers can go, eyes glazed with concentration because the words are cascading out of my brain faster than a hummingbird's wing beats, and someone in my household comes in and asks, "Are you busy?" It's a good thing I don't own a gun at such times. Also good that I don't keep a baseball bat by my desk, but that could change rather quickly, now that I think about it. Let's just say bringing the mundane into contact with The Zone explodes it into smithereens. Often I have spent weeks, months, nurturing the story in my thoughts, and finally had a few moments--but no. Poof! the train of thought derails and unleashes toxic clouds of resentment.
Therefore most of my best writing is done between midnight and three in the morning. As the expression goes, I'll sleep when I'm dead. Although health issues interfere with that intention at times and I have to crash for a nine hour stretch, most of the time I'm good on four to five hours. The story burns to get out, and it's far more important to slide into The Zone. Anyway, I only dream restlessly about it if I go to bed.