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Judg
09-30-2009, 07:46 AM
I've hit a sweet spot in the last week. After months and months of writing being a labour (dealing with an unresponsive agent had something to do with it, I'm sure), I've lately been on a real roll. Writing has become fun, so much fun my normal distractions irritate me. I want to get back to writing. And it's been a wonderful place to be.

I don't know how long this is going to last, but I'm taking advantage of it. When I have to go out to do errands, I take a notebook and take a lunch or coffee break while I'm out to get some more writing down. Normally public places distract me way too much for me to be able to write.

I'm not sure I can put lightning in a bottle, but the key seems to be that I've gotten to know my characters, and I know what I want to have happen quite clearly in my head.

Or maybe because for the first time I'm writing a couple falling in love. I'm not used to doing that kind of thing (the writing, I mean) and I'm finding it some of the easiest writing I've ever done. Who woulda thunk it? I always thought it would be really, really hard. This story demanded it though, so I plunged forward.

Anybody else in that sweet spot? What did it for you?

Darzian
09-30-2009, 08:29 AM
Good for you Judg! I've encountered such periods (albeit rarely) but they rarely lasted more than a few days. Always make max use of them.

I think it's got something to do with the way Jupiter and Mars are positioned on those nights.........

Bartholomew
09-30-2009, 08:33 AM
I think it's got something to do with the way Jupiter and Mars are positioned on those nights.........

It's Venus and Sirius, heathen.

poetinahat
09-30-2009, 08:46 AM
I thought the opposite of Writer's Block was Reader's Block... :rolleyes:

(gives self an uppercut)

backslashbaby
09-30-2009, 08:49 AM
Congratulations! I love it when that happens. I wish it happened more for me. Usually it's just a day here and there, but it's very fun :)

I'm hoping I'll get more of that once I get a better grasp on the whole story and the characters. I know so much could change where I am right now. I like it better later, even if the playing around part is its own kind of fun.

Judg
09-30-2009, 08:59 AM
LOL! Come on everybody. I need your secrets so I can unbottle your lightning when mine runs out. If I'm going to make a career out of this, finding painless ways of increasing my output would be invaluable. I'm such a slow writer under normal circumstances.

I find going back to reread has been a help too. This makes sense to me. When I used to do knitting and crocheting, I loved to stop every now and again, lay the piece flat and just admire it for what it was so far. Gave me good feelings about what I had accomplished. So going back and rereading chunks has helped me a lot, especially when one of those nasty little voices in my head tells me what a load of crap I'm writing. Going back and actually enjoying what I've written helps shut them up.

TheAntar
09-30-2009, 10:37 AM
I've had similar flashes, though its been awhile.

Might be odd, or might be normal, I'm not sure, but one thing I know definitively: Other people reading my work makes me want to write more.

If I finish a short story and just let it sit, I get tired/bored and don't want to write again for a bit, until the batteries recharge.

But if I share the story, get some feedback, rewriting becomes a pleasure. But even better, when I was writing my novel I had an alpha-reader, and the instant I hit the last period on every chapter I'd be IMing it to him.

The motivation was amazing. I hammered out the second half of my novel in 10 days. Obviously rewrites and edits followed, but nothing kept me moving along quite like that alpha reader, anxiously asking me if I was done the next chapter yet!

Too bad I can't seem to recreate that situation, as that second half of my novel remains not only my most efficient writing time, but also my best writing to date.

blacbird
09-30-2009, 11:03 AM
I gotta confess here: I have cat litter changer's block.

Just.

Can't.

Do.

It.

caw

Exir
09-30-2009, 11:23 AM
Writer's Unblock (TM)

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 04:15 PM
My secret? Discipline. You may have read some of my posts, Judg, where I talk about the muse not gracing me with her presence - I have to go out into the streets, drag her home by the hair and chain her to my laptop.

The only thing that gets me in the zone is pushing, pushing, pushing. The first thousand words of any day are, for the most part, work. After that it becomes fun. Once I get past 2k, it flows.

So really, it's habit. Or a routine. Both of which are words that suggest a bad case of the blahs to me, so let's call it discipline instead. Training oneself to write, as if it were a muscle. Through use and training, it becomes easier to summon that potential and get yourself in the zone.

MattW
09-30-2009, 04:33 PM
The Zone.

There are unpredictable circumstances that let me get there, but it's like tunnel vision and inspiration all at once. I think it is some kind of self-hypnosis.

It doesn't happen as much as it used to when I write, but it almost always happens when I'm working on a program, a simulation, or a very detailed spreadsheet.

It's different that disciplined work. It really feels like time elongates and shrinks at the same time. Anyone else get that feeling?

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 04:37 PM
The Zone.

There are unpredictable circumstances that let me get there, but it's like tunnel vision and inspiration all at once. I think it is some kind of self-hypnosis.

It doesn't happen as much as it used to when I write, but it almost always happens when I'm working on a program, a simulation, or a very detailed spreadsheet.

It's different that disciplined work. It really feels like time elongates and shrinks at the same time. Anyone else get that feeling?I don't think it is.

You talk about self-hypnosis and I think that's what discipline is. Convincing yourself you can do this and will do this. It becomes a way to train yourself (hypnotise yourself?) to expect 'the zone' and know it's coming.

Ken
09-30-2009, 05:30 PM
... have experienced something related, call it a cousin 3rd removed if you will. I occasionally get consumed in a project, similar to your own current state, Judg. But it often isn't any easier going than at other times. It simply needs to be done, so the struggles are less wearisome, and when I encounter blocks they stand before me like challenges to be overcome and I confront them with gusto crying, "Make way knave before I run you through!" Well, not entirely with so much confidence as that ;-) // Keep writing and don't worry about running dry. Eventually that'll happen, but now that you've got the swing of things you'll be back in the saddle again in no time flat :-)

truelyana
09-30-2009, 05:42 PM
LOL! Come on everybody. I need your secrets so I can unbottle your lightning when mine runs out. If I'm going to make a career out of this, finding painless ways of increasing my output would be invaluable. I'm such a slow writer under normal circumstances.

I find going back to reread has been a help too. This makes sense to me. When I used to do knitting and crocheting, I loved to stop every now and again, lay the piece flat and just admire it for what it was so far. Gave me good feelings about what I had accomplished. So going back and rereading chunks has helped me a lot, especially when one of those nasty little voices in my head tells me what a load of crap I'm writing. Going back and actually enjoying what I've written helps shut them up.

Lovely, that's great! :)

I have always enjoyed writing too, but for the most part I have used writings as a gateway to express my most sad or negative moments.

For now, I just feel to write to express myself with others and nothing too heavy.

I feel that I often touch my spiritual side with words, but find that I need less of them in my life at the moment. In other words am enjoying just getting active with my life, rather than paddling down and writing about it.

Yay for you, and keep it up. Enjoyment is bliss, when it's encountered. :)

maestrowork
09-30-2009, 05:56 PM
I have had a good week, too... words just flowed, and characters are talking to me... And once I wrote over 7000 words -- that was a good day.

I find that listening to a certain type of music helps get me to the zone (although I don't like to write while listening to music anymore -- it's distracting). Also, I find that if I actively think about the WIP while I'm waking up (in a state between sleep and wake) I'd have a better writing day... I'd get ideas and visualize scenes that excite me. It's been working the past week or so...

Rose English
09-30-2009, 06:33 PM
Sounds like heaven to me, Judg. I say enjoy the moment. I'm always seeking this experience when I write.


I need your secrets so I can unbottle your lightning when mine runs out.

Well, one thing I am sure about, for me anyway; the 'sweet spot' or zone is more likely to happen when I empty my diary of social obligations. I can't be sociable and write too. I can be temporarily sociable in order to re-stock upstairs. Then I need to daydream a lot. It took a therapist to help me see that this is a vital way I process the world. Not laziness.

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 06:35 PM
Strange thing is, I get more done when I have a full day. You know that saying, "If you want something done, ask a busy man?" It's true. When I have 24-hours in my diary clear, I get nothing or very little written. That's not to say I can write in five-minute increments. I prefer a couple of hours here and there. But an entire day free gives me an entire day to waste.

CaroGirl
09-30-2009, 06:48 PM
Cool! I'm so glad your muse (or whatever) has come to call!

I agree with re-reading chunks of text. That gets me motivated to write more and, unless I'm on a roll and jumping straight in where I left off a day or less prior, I need to do that to get the flow going again. I have productive periods but, as others have said, they last only a few days at a time max.

Sometimes it helps if I can work out a problem I know I have with a scene, or fill in or change something earlier in the story that I know isn't working.

Write on, my friend!!

KTC
09-30-2009, 06:52 PM
I forced myself not to write for decades. Since I revisited writing in or around 2003---I've been writing non-stop. Not a bit of slowdown. I'm in my sweet spot and I'm never getting out of it.

maestrowork
09-30-2009, 06:54 PM
I forced myself not to write for decades. Since I revisited writing in or around 2003---I've been writing non-stop. Not a bit of slowdown. I'm in my sweet spot and I'm never getting out of it.

Why did you force yourself not to write? I'm just curious.

I didn't write (creatively) since college. Jobs, other interests, etc. But I didn't really force myself not to write; I just really didn't have much interest back then.

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 06:55 PM
Lack of faith in his own abilities, perhaps? Lord knows why. I've said it privately and I'll say it publicly: Kevin's writing reads like the work of a poet.

KTC
09-30-2009, 07:00 PM
Thanks so much, Peachy.

Ray...from an early age my creativity was ALWAYS discouraged and frowned upon. So much so that it became ingrained in me to steer clear of my creative bent. It took years for me to realize I had permission to be creative just by allowing it to happen. All through that time I was like a bomb waiting to explode...now I can't stop.


and, yes...total lack of faith in self too. (-;

icerose
09-30-2009, 07:05 PM
I call it the zone as others do. The zone requires that no one is pandering for my attention which is rare, usually after all the kids are in bed and my husband has already had his lovin' so I'm free to do anything I want without anyone needing anything from me.

Music helps me get into the zone.

I used to get two zones a day, one during nap time, and one at night. But now my little one doesn't take a nap anymore. :cry:

tjwriter
09-30-2009, 07:13 PM
Just as long as it's not word vomit, we're okay.

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 07:14 PM
Hey! There's nothing wrong with a bit of puke occasionally!

SP, who refers to her first drafts as 'brainvomit'.

ishtar'sgate
09-30-2009, 07:44 PM
Anybody else in that sweet spot? What did it for you?
Not right now but I have been in the past. While writing my medieval novel I was frequently irritated by having to deal with the here-and-now. I'd mentally wander off to the little village of Claringdon (my fictitious setting) and play with my friends there instead of interacting with the people sitting in my livingroom. While trying to deal with cleaning, dishes, laundry, meals and everyday mundane tasks, I would constantly run back to my desk and write a sentence or two. I was ALWAYS thinking about the novel. I'm sure it got pretty annoying for my family.:D

melaniehoo
09-30-2009, 07:48 PM
Judg, that's great things are flowing right now!

I have three POVs in my current wip and every time I write the teenager, the words just fly out of me. I'm thinking my next book might need to be YA.

Red-Green
09-30-2009, 07:49 PM
For me it's always a story that grabs me. Characters who speak to me, whose fears and hopes wake me up in the middle of the night. When I'm walking around, I find myself seeing the world through their eyes. Last year that happened and I wrote 60K in 6 days, because I was pretty much channeling the main character in my every waking moment. Also, I write faster if I need to pee. :D

Glad you're getting a chance to run with your Writer's Explosion, Judg.

Judg
09-30-2009, 08:40 PM
Some interesting thoughts here.

I half agree with you, SP. I'm all in favour of discipline and sometimes to find the sweet spot, you have to write through the sour ones. But when I'm writing on willpower alone, it's tough slogging. It's very slow and not much fun. It sometimes produces some decent writing anyway, but still...

I think I tend to make things a bit hard for myself, being a perfectionist and all. Unfortunately the advice of just forgetting the inner editor and writing no matter what has had mixed results for me. If I haven't done the proper research or at least thinking though, I sometimes end up damaging the story. I have to find my own personal balance point between discipline, creative freedom, striving for excellence, the whole bit.

I have noticed that it tends to be easier when I have a good grip on where I'm going. Not a highly detailed outline, but a sense of where I want a scene to end up, what the agendas and attitudes of the characters are, that kind of thing. I often discover things I hadn't thought of at all while I write, but they're usually easily incorporated into the plan because I try to keep it pretty flexible.

I have a more difficult and yet very important, pivotal chapter coming up now, so I'm going to have to go do some intense thinking before I start writing. This is going to be an argument in Council, so I've got to have a good grip on the arguments the main players will marshall, the agendas and attitudes of everyone around the table, and what my main goals are as a writer. Once those ducks are all lined up, I'll invite them into the room and let them have at it. That should be fun... ;)

Redzilla, getting inside the characters' heads helps me a lot too.

TheAntar, an enthusiastic alpha reader? Never thought of that. Maybe I should recruit my mother... LOL

Rose, I'm equally bad at multi-tasking. This current burst of productivity might be related to the fact that I've backed off my social networks, except for AW. I do have to figure out how to reincorporate them into my life though. As a general rules, balanced days don't work well for me. I like to obsess.

TJ, reading back, some of it is among my best writing and some of it ... isn't. I don't mind editing bad writing. Editing the good stuff just about kills me, which is why I like to get it right, at least plot-wise, the first time.

scarletpeaches
09-30-2009, 09:42 PM
Some interesting thoughts here.

I half agree with you, SP. I'm all in favour of discipline and sometimes to find the sweet spot, you have to write through the sour ones. But when I'm writing on willpower alone, it's tough slogging. It's very slow and not much fun. It sometimes produces some decent writing anyway, but still...

I think I tend to make things a bit hard for myself, being a perfectionist and all. Unfortunately the advice of just forgetting the inner editor and writing no matter what has had mixed results for me. If I haven't done the proper research or at least thinking though, I sometimes end up damaging the story. I have to find my own personal balance point between discipline, creative freedom, striving for excellence, the whole bit.Oh, I have my tough times too. Strange thing is, I look back at the writing I 'angsted' over and it doesn't read any better or worse than the stuff I write while in the zone. For me, the angst/flow dichotomy is nothing to do with the quality of my writing - I use the same brain, the same mind, the same imagination no matter where I am, what mood I'm in after all. The thing that changes is my mood, my perception of what I'm writing. The quality's the same, so I know if I push through the blahs, eventually I'll start enjoying the process as well as the end product.

Phaeal
09-30-2009, 10:17 PM
It always hits me if I keep knocking my way into the story via freewriting spasms and the serendipitous finds I come across while researching something else. The critical moment is when two or more ideas fuse into one, or when the perfect character drops into the story and starts striking sparks off the other characters and scenery.

I also go into writing trances about 3/4's of the way through a novel or story -- it must be completed, ASAP!

And during NaNoWriMo. The writing frenzy of tens of thousands of participants is contagious.

Judg
10-22-2009, 03:18 AM
Find the passion. That is perhaps the closest I can get to a recipe for putting lightning in a bottle. Find what the characters really, really care about, what enrages them, what makes them stand up and yell at the guy across the table. If I can feel what they're feeling, it's a lot easier to write, and I ride their energy.

I do need quiet days to mull things over and recharge the batteries a bit though. Now I've got to get in the head of somebody I don't particularly like, so that's going to be a little less fun, especially because it's going to require expertise I don't have. But go there I shall... At least he has a passion to find.

Brutal Mustang
10-22-2009, 03:49 AM
Editing the good stuff just about kills me, which is why I like to get it right, at least plot-wise, the first time.

I like getting things done well the first time too. If I don't, I lose interest in my story.

Nivarion
10-22-2009, 09:51 AM
LOL! Come on everybody. I need your secrets so I can unbottle your lightning when mine runs out. If I'm going to make a career out of this, finding painless ways of increasing my output would be invaluable. I'm such a slow writer under normal circumstances.
.

I go on a scout camp, back packing trip, white water rafting or other adventure. Getting away from people, streets, electricity and everything else helps me a lot. It doesn't have to be for a long time even.

Judg
10-22-2009, 11:04 PM
It's interesting how different people are wired so differently.