In the zone

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!

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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.

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Categories: Writing | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “In the zone

  1. Do you talk to yourself about the writing process while it is happening too? Occasionally I say things out loud to myself.

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  2. This particular motion usually means a character is “talking to you” and is followed by a flurry of fingers on the keyboard. But yep, that is the face of intensity!

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  3. I like it there. In the zone. Sometimes it goes with me when I leave the keyboard and go to the kitchen or living room, not always recalling the purpose of my trip to the kitchen or living room. I often vocalize, sometimes scaring my puppy. But I think she’s getting used to it now.

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  4. I pace around in my office and talk to myself (out loud!) when I’m writing. Because my office door is rarely closed I’ve pretty regularly had confused students tapping on the door: “Um…Dr. Hotz? Is everything okay?”

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