Z is for Zone

This is it.  The last post in the A – Z Challenge.  Whew!  Now I won’t be clogging up everyone’s inboxes all the time. 🙂  Thanks for being patient with me as I did this.  It was a fun challenge, and I’m glad I took it.  But I can see how it’d be overwhelming to try to keep up with all these posts.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s do the last one….


ID 32416481 © Irantzu Arbaizagoitia | Dreamstime.com

The zone is when writing takes on a magical kind of quality.  The words are flowing easily.  The story plays out like a movie in your mind, and all you have to do is write down everything the characters are saying and doing.  This is the best feeling in the world for the writer.

I wish I could say it’s easy to get into the zone.  I’d say I hit this point about 75% of the time when I write.  On days when the words aren’t flowing well, I write a couple hundred words, stall, do something else (like writing this blog post), then go back to the story.  Most of the time this is because I’m not sure what happens next in the story.

Yes, I can hear the plotters now.  “You’d know what happened next if you plotted.”  But I can’t plot.  Not successfully.  Every time I’ve even made a simple outline for my book, things change within a chapter or two because the characters don’t like the plan I came up with.  I don’t believe plotting is for everyone.  If it works for you, great.  For me, I find being a panster is the best way to go.  So maybe today’s post is more for pansters.

Below I have a few things to try to get into the zone when you’re writing.  If you have any other tips I didn’t think of, or if I’m wrong about plotters having it easy, let me know.  I’m all ears. 🙂

  1.  Get away from the family.  This is often easier said than done.  Kids or the spouse can come up to you at any time while they’re around and bother talk to you.  Even when you explain that you’re working and need them to leave you alone, chances are only 50% they’ll listen.
  2. Exercise.  There is something about exercise that helps boost creativity.
  3. Don’t go online.  Again, easier said than done.  Emails and social media have a way of beckoning to you when you need to be writing.  Sometimes I go to the park or another place that doesn’t have Wifi access.
  4. Sit and write.  I tell myself, “Just get 250 words in”.  Usually, once I do about 500, things flow a lot easier, and I find myself writing more naturally.

That’s what I have.  Got any others?  I’d love to hear them!

This post is part of the Blogging from A – Z Challenge.  Thanks again for bearing with me as I did this!  Now I’ll go back to the posting only a couple times a week.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to https://ruthannnordinsbooks.wordpress.com/.
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10 Responses to Z is for Zone

  1. Good advice! When I’m having trouble writing – and I can’t use being tired as an excuse, lol – editing another work can help. But I think what helps me the most is to read something someone else wrote, especially if I’ve read it before and love it. But even when I do love it, I find it very hard to turn my internal editor off. It does take a lot of pleasure away from reading, so I’ve been tending to stick to YA fantasy … especially if those fantasies have mostly non-violent vampires. 😀

    There’s a lot of truth to what some people say – if you just write and write and don’t fill the creative well by reading, it will run dry. I think it was Stephen King who said if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. I agree. 🙂

    • Excellent tips! Taking time off to relax can definitely help boost the creative edge. Hmm… I was thinking of doing some reading today. Maybe I’ll take a break from writing and finally work on that book I want to finish up. 🙂 Now I can do it without feeling guilty.

      • Go for it! And don’t feel guilty. A lot of famous authors feel it’s necessary to write well. And the quote was from Stephen King. I had to Google to find how much he actually reads (because it would take me forever to find it going through his book – because then I’d get distracted and start reading it, lol), but I found his quote…

        “I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read” from On Writing.

        That’s an average of one to one and a half books every single week. I don’t get through anywhere near that much anymore. I really need to get back to it! 🙂

        • I haven’t read that much since I started seriously writing. 😦 I tend to read 1-2 a month. I always read for enjoyment. I do enough editing with my own stuff. The last thing I want to do is edit someone else’s. 🙂

  2. Congrats on finishing the A to Z Challenge! I like to listen to classical music to get into the zone. As soon as I put it on, it’s a signal to sit down and write. And for blog posts, choosing a photo helps motivate me for that post. Thanks for visiting/commenting on my blog. Enjoyed your posts and look forward to stopping back. Molly http://mollyscanopy.com/

    • Thanks, Molly! What a wild ride. I’m glad I did it, but it sure did feel great to take a break from blogging this week. 🙂

      Classical music is great. There are so many ways you bring emotion into the music to fit the book you’re writing.

  3. Mazel tov on finishing the challenge.

  4. Every time I get near ‘the zone’, I have to break up a cat fight. Or a cat romance. (Rescued 3 legged male cat in the house.)

  5. C R Ward says:

    You’re in the zone 75% of the time?? Man, am I jealous! I’ve only ever reached the zone a handful of times. I’m really neither a panster nor a plotter. While I don’t write down an outline to follow, I do have to know how the story ends before I start it. Otherwise it just kind of peters out.

    • Once I get past the initial resistance to writing, I’m able to go into the flow. The zone doesn’t last all day. It peters out around the hour mark. I’m sure it’s different for all writers. I know some writers who can write 5000-10,000 words a day. One guy wrote a 70,000-word novel in two weeks. That is way beyond my capability. 😀

      I write romance, so I always know how it’ll end. The couple ends up together. That makes it a lot easier to finish the story. I can definitely see how that would be a challenge in other genres.

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