Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"In the Zone"

When I was in college I was always searching for someway to 'get in the zone'. Once there I would fly on writing sessions: I would write page after page and it would all be effortless. I'm sure anyone reading this knows what I'm talking about: that state of mind where one is focused and productive and everything else (up to and including hunger) is ignored. I tried reading, watching short videos on Youtube, meditation, exercise (usually Tae Known Do) and other things. I had limited success with those methods and, while I'm better at it today, its still more art than science. The most reliable method was to brainstorm, but not outline, future events. Outlining never seemed to work as well as brainstorming. Maybe because it was too mechanical or didn't have that 'primordial' sense to it. If I hit on an idea that was brilliant or exactly in tune with the characters then I would feel this rush and slip 'into the zone'.

I have included that in Journey to Chaos. In-universe its called 'Videlicet Mens' which is (hopefully) Latin for 'Clear Mind/Intention'. It refers to a state of mind where the user is 100 percent focused on a task and a state of enchanted physical and spiritual capabilities. Novices can only reach it through extreme emotion but veterans can achieve it at will. 

For a free preview of the first book in the Journey to Chaos series click here.

Bottom line: What I would recommend is to create an outline, however threadbare, and then do some favorite activity while thinking about the outline or general scene you want to write. Don't think about time, just enjoy the activity. If nothing else you'll be in a better mood. That in and of itself can be enough to get the writing juices flowing.


  1. Hiya, Brian! I know what you mean about finding that elusive "zone". It can be exhausting. Your advice about writing without a time limit is awesome :D I always have a deadline for something around the house, or work, or ME... I guess taking a chill pill isn't the most surprising bit of advice, but it's sound nonetheless!

    Good luck finding your writing "happy place" again :)

  2. Yes, its the Holy Grail of writing to slip into 'the zone' on command. I'll keep searching. Thank you for your comment!