A friend recently snapped a picture of me while I was writing. I got a good giggle out of it: I’d never seen myself writing before!
To be honest, this isn’t something I usually think about. I do know that I’m very expressive when I write…flinging arms about, thumping the keyboard, tipping back in the chair to think, and, occasionally, groaning or muttering when something isn’t coming out right.
But I don’t usually think about what all this looks like from an outside perspective. When I’m in the zone, everything but the screen and the keyboard kinda goes fuzzy. Sometimes I’ll stare intently at the ceiling or a spot in the distance…but I couldn’t tell you what said spot actually looked like. I’m not looking at it, more like that’s the direction my physical eyes are pointed while my mind’s eye is far away. Now, when a human being occupies that spot…let’s just say awkwardness ensues. I had one guy convinced I was checking him out; he was quickly disabused of this notion when he came up to talk to me and I was all like, “Sorry, you’re who? Guy in the corner…there was a guy in the corner? There was a corner?” Apparently, I had this really confused look on my face during the conversation and my eyes kept darting back to my writing. Poor guy. He was kind of handsome…but unfortunately, he wasn’t fictional. And I was rather focused at the time!
I try to keep these external signs of internal processes subdued when I’m writing in public; I’m not always successful. I can’t always help it: writing is like my mind slipping into a whole other world, but my body stays behind. Same with reading. The zone is an all-engrossing place, and it usually requires all my attention and focus–and when I emerge from it, it’s usually to aching arms and a sore ass.