Zone

Z

Wow! Here we are. The last day of the A-to-Z Blog Challenge and we’ve made it. The ups and downs have been worth it, just to say I’ve done it.

Today’s word is Zone.

One of the definitions of zone, according to The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus, is ‘area having particular features, properties, purpose or use’. The writing zone is that place where the words just flow from your fingertips with little or no thought.

Writers seek the zone and can find it. Sometimes its luck and sometimes it’s not.

Tell any of your writer friends you found the zone and they all nod with understand. It is that moment that the world disappears and the only thing that matters is you and the words.

It doesn’t happen often, or at least not as often as we’d like. It would be nice if every time you sat down to write but too often the words come slowly. Or sometimes, not at all.

I’m not sure there is a “trick” to getting into the zone. I believe that a person can create habits that greatly increase the odds of reaching the zone.

Those habits include:

Writing daily – I find it best to write at the same time each day. Your muse responds to habit – usually.
Find other writers – Writing is often solitary and finding others who also write can shake up your own energy.
Create a ritual for writing – Using music, lighting a candle or the like can help you find the zone. I struggle to write if I don’t have a cup of coffee. I know things have been flowing well if the coffee is cold when I look up from my keyboard.
Read – Any time, all the time, when you aren’t writing. Reading books, whether they are nonfiction instruction type books, books in your genre or books out of your genre, can stimulate the brain to produce words.
Leave the inner critic at the door – Yeah, this is the difficult one. I’ve written about this before in this post.

These habits if modified a bit can apply to other things.

May all your words be written in the zone.

Have you ever written in the “zone” and how to you get there?

Yellow, Yen, or Young

Y

This has been the most difficult post to get moving. There aren’t many “Y” words that translate into something worth writing about. Or maybe it is my present mind. I have no clear reason for each of these words just random picks. Lets talk about Yellow, Yen and Young.

Yellow

Yellow happens to be one of my least favorite colors. I seem to gravitate toward cool colors, especially purples. I can see the value in each of the colors though. My office has some light, creamy yellow walls and it is one of my favorite places. When it is clean and neat. Which it isn’t at the moment. Four year olds tend to be hard on a playroom. It is calming for me and my clients.

Yen

Yen is an interesting word. It means yearn or long for. Also it is the form of currency in Japan. This word has caught my imagination. Since I haven’t been to Japan and therefore have never needed the currency, I am focused on the yearning or longing word. The thought I’m having is that I’ve never used this word in my writing. Well, not that I can remember anyway. There is a certain appeal to the word and I hope it is one that will find its way into my writing.

Young

Another interesting word. Our society seems to be enamored of youth and the young. Getting old is seen as having little value. There are things that only come with age:

Experience – There are mistakes we won’t make again. We have learned from them. Of course, there are many more that I can and will make. That is just part of life.
Knowing what I want out of life – At least I think I do. I am more clear on how I want my life to go now more so than I ever have. This is a good thing. There is less angst.
Grand kids – This is one of the best things about growing older. I am lucky to have a couple of the cutest little ones to call me Memaw. I’m not biased at all. See for yourself:

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I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are your favorite things about getting older?

Xena, Warrior Princess

X

Interesting title. Just how does it apply to writing?

“X” titles and subjects are hard to come by. This one actually came from my husband over lunch while we were traveling this weekend. He had other suggestions but this one was the most interesting.

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from Vibe.com

Do you remember Xena? A warrior princess set in mythical times who went around redeeming herself by helping others? Yes, no? Since the show began airing 20 years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Before I did a little research (i.e. Wikipedia), my thought was Xena was a woman who lived life on her own terms. I seem to remember her evolving from only the warrior to a woman who was strong but also embraced her feminine side. She was tough, taking on the biggest adversaries and winning. I know this is made for TV but having women who are like this wasn’t very common then and still isn’t today.

The thought that struck me all day was that she lived her life on her terms, not bowing to convention, and how this applies to writing. There are so many how to’s, conferences, and classes that tell you a path to write and publication. You know the ones I mean – 10 steps to publication and the like. What I’ve come to believe is that there is no one path when it comes to writing. Just like Xena.

How, you might ask?

Well, you have to be tough and learn to navigate your own world, on your own terms. Having a thick skin is just one necessary thing to have when you are battling the critics.

There is no one path to redemption (publication). Xena traveled throughout the countryside taking on the ills of her world, never having an actual plan that I can remember. While it may be a good idea to have a plan for your own writing, it is important to stay flexible.

She also looked good doing it. Again, I realize this is TV. However, it is important to take care of yourself while you walk this path. That means getting enough sleep, eating decently, exercise, keeping up relationships and not taking yourself too seriously.

I believe that the writing life is fulfilling and rewarding in its own right. Publication is simply icing on the cake.

Who are your heroes for writing or otherwise?