Getting in the Zone – One Good Method
As writers, we love the euphoria when the story is streaming from the mind like a movie rental download. The right words appear on the screen (or paper), and the story telling is perfect. It’s a truly wonderful feeling to be in the zone—confident, consistent, clever, and capable.
At the other end of the spectrum is writer’s block—distracted, doubtful, discouraged, and daring the screen to sprout an idea.
This blog lists several similar methods for training the mind to find the zone more frequently.
At the start of a new job, athletic club, church, etc. it takes time to remember all the peoples’ names and special procedures. After a while the names just pop into your head. It’s the repetition—the mind has trained itself to make an instant connection between the face and the name.
Scientific experiments have proven that the mind can be trained. This suggests that repeatedly challenging the mind expands its capability. A few of us just need more repetitions.
There are booklets, iPad apps, and Internet sites dedicated to helping writer’s improve their creativity. Generally they work quite well—some by giving the writer an odd combination of unrelated stuff—for example: helicopter, elephant, and alarm clock. The challenge is to use the three items in a story of 1,000 words or less. Finding a way to link three randomly selected items is difficult at first, but becomes easier with practice.
Below is a list of other training systems.
- The website Creative Thinking With has three different exercises. The first one compares two items to find all the ways they can be combined.
- Micheal Michalko, internationally acclaimed creative thinking expert, has several books out; Thinkertoys, ThinkPak, and Cracking Creativity.
- Melissa Donovan: 101 Creative Writing Exercises.
- Searching with creative thinking for writers will produce many other options.
Provided here is a story from Kathryn Elizabeth Jones of Idea Creations Press. It’s her having some fun with the helicopter, elephant, and alarm clock exercise. (Her response came about 20 minutes after an email inquiry).
“Once there was an elephant who woke up every morning to an alarm clock. He’d stretch his thick, wide legs in his sturdy bed and reach for the object that had always awakened him. Only this morning it wasn’t there. The alarm clock was gone!
He sat up. Where was he? He looked down. All he saw was sky, sky floating everywhere. And what, pray, was that ragged clicking sound? Why, he was in a helicopter!”
Thank you Kathryn. As my piano teacher said, “You only get better if you practice, practice, practice.”
As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later I know that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
Retirement came a little earlier than wanted. I decided it was time for that dream job. Three years later, I am an aspiring writer telling stories that hopefully guides a reader’s imagination to a world of excitement, and provide a brief rest from the everyday duties.
Winter’s Thief is the first of a three book series. Soft cover books available at your favorite Internet bookstore, or at the website www.AndeanWhite.com. The e-book version is available at Amazon.com.