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In The Zone

April 25, 2024 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth, Writing tagged as , , , ,
Photo by Sonia Sanmartin on Unsplash

You’ve been there. Writing as fast as you can type, scared that you won’t be able to get all that fantastic dialogue currently flooding your mind, down on the paper before it slips away. You are IN THE ZONE.

I remember a summer day when I was writing in my dining room, every word an effort, the scene falling flat. I’d been at it for hours. I kept thinking, “If I just sit here and keep working it will come.” Eventually, I got up, went into the kitchen and began washing dishes. That’s when I saw him. He darted around the corner. Then I heard him speaking in my mind, as clear as if he was standing next to me. I dried my hands and returned to write one of the best chapters I’ve ever created, personally dictated to me, by a wonderful little boy—my protagonist.

But how do I get into the zone reliably, every day?

Truthfully, I don’t get in the zone every day. But I do get there often. Here are my two best strategies.

First, I speak—out loud—with the voice of my character. When my character is sad, I cry. When she is angry, I rage at full volume. When she is lonely, I ache. When she is afraid, I run for my life—literally. I run through the house, up the stairs, and hide in the closet. I feel what my character feels, I do—as much as possible—what my character would do. I become her.

Once I woke in the night. Earlier that day I had been crafting a short story about a young woman who was hunted by a demon. As I typed the scene I had just dreamed, I began to see moving shadows in the dark room. I hadn’t turned on any lights because I didn’t want to wake my husband. As I worked, the fear within me built to such a level that my trembling fingers kept typing the wrong letters. When I finally got the last words down, I hurriedly fled back to bed and woke my husband. “Tell me it’s not real,” I said. He put his arms around me. “Have you been writing again?”

When the zone happens, I typically write in first person regardless of the POV the story eventually will have. I do this to capture the character and the emotions I am feeling. Once down on the page I can easily shift into another POV.

My second technique is music—and dancing. I deliberately chose a piece of music to play when I begin a new story. Whenever I open that file on my computer, I also play the music. This helps me ground myself in the world of my character. However, music alone is typically not enough to get me in the zone. I must also dance—the wilder the better.

Happy Writing!

Kidd Wadsworth

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