Likewise when we are in the writing zone everything is easy. The words flow onto the page with little effort, new ideas come from nowhere and the whole process becomes smooth and effortlessly. The story practically writes itself like being carried along by a river of revelation. Like John on the island of Patmos being told to write what he saw.
But what about the times when we are not in the zone?
Sports people have many strategies to help them find the zone: deep breathing, visualization, positive self-talk, more training, more relaxation. Yet despite all this they have to continue regardless of whether they are in the zone or not. They will even play through injuries or sickness. They continue, hoping to play themselves into the zone but in the meantime it may not be pretty. However they aim to put forward their best possible performance regardless of how they feel.
I remember reading something similar about Catherine Marshall. In the early days she wrote when she felt inspired and for pleasure. But when her husband Peter died, she had to write for a living which meant there were days when she had to write even though she felt uninspired. Likewise there are times when we may have to write regardless of our feelings.
I have a blog that I am committed to updating regularly but some days I don’t feel like it or can’t think of anything to write. Yet when I sit down in front of my computer and think about what has been happening in my life, surprisingly an idea, a thought appears. Though the article may be slow in coming and not particularly profound, the post gets written. As writers we have the advantage of the re-write so unlike sports people we can go back and revisit, revise and edit what we have done. Sometimes the surprise is that editing can turn our not so perfect writing into something special.
Do you have any strategies, routines or spiritual disciplines that help you find the writing zone?