Friday, April 24, 2009

The End is awesome, but what about getting there?

Yesterday YA author April Henry talked about how she always enjoys having written, but doesn't always enjoy the writing. She even took a poll, to see if others felt the same, and you can see the results here. She compared it to running, and I totally agree. But I told her there are days where we get in that zone and I think each time we sit down to write, or go outside to run, we hope we'll find that wonderful place. Some days it's just plain hard, no doubt about it.

It reminded me of a blog post YA author Christine Fletcher (author of the amazing TEN CENTS A DANCE) did awhile back which she called Chasing the Dragon. Her blog is here, and you'll have to scroll down a little bit to read this particular blog. But hey, stop and take a look at the beautiful Hawaii pictures on your way down - they're lovely!

Anyway, here is a snippet of what Chris said in her blog post on Chasing the Dragon:

"The first time I hit the zone--that state in which a scene unfurls seemingly with no effort, in which the characters take on life and act with no regard for the author's preconceived ideas, the state in which (as one author once put it) the writer seems to be taking dictation from God himself--I was hooked. Entirely and forever. That first experience was long before I began writing novels, long before I could reliably write even two pages a week for my writing class. But from that day to this, every time I sit down at the computer, I hope that
lightning will strike. It usually doesn’t. But the promise of it always brings me back."
YES! That is exactly it. And I have to say, I must be lucky because if I have a big chunk of time, I often do find that zone and can write pages and pages and get swept up and away into the story. The key for me is having the time, and often that's the biggest challenge for me.

Like Chris said in a comment on my blog yesterday, "I write just so I can tell myself the story."

Exactly! And sometimes getting started on a new day is hard, but once I get going and I'm in that story, I want to know what happens next, and it's one of the reasons I've never really outlined. I have a general direction of where I'm going, but I love just sitting down and seeing what happens next! It keeps it exciting and fun for me.

So yeah, I love having written, but I also love writing a lot of the time too. Not all the time. There are certainly days where it's like running uphill in mud. But I try not to think about those days. I like the other ones MUCH better!

What about you? Do you find that zone often or not?


  1. As a pre-published writer, I would never write if I didn't love it! But I haven't been "in the zone" for several months now with the book I've been working on for the past couple years. Christina's comment totally hits home for me. I think my problem is that I've told myself the story and the changes I'm trying to make now aren't to make the story better for me, but to make it more marketable. The characters in my head are having a tough time getting excited about that.

  2. I like telling myself the story as well. I hope that doesn't come across the wrong way, I really enjoy my own writing.

  3. I absolutely agree, 100%. The zone is absolute and utter addiction, but it's the healthy kind--the kind that calms me down and opens up the doors into a world I can never find when I'm running to and fro without thinking.

    Thanks for the links!

  4. I totally agree with that snippet from Christine Fletcher's blog, as I have felt that many a time. There are scenes where I just write and write and write, where I feel that I am not the one holding the pen, but that I am the pen. It is a fantastic feeling, but it doesn't happen all the time.

    In between those wonderful writing strikes I have to work hard and long to fill in the gaps between the strikes, but without actually just playing "fill in the gaps".

    But once I did finish my first novel at the very end of last year, I have never felt better and more thrilled.

  5. I love that, " I write so I can tell myself the story."


    You need to watch this: It's FLAT OUT INCREDIBLE

  6. Katie, I'm so glad you posted that link today. I had heard about it, but hadn't taken the time to sit and watch it, and just now, I did. It was WONDERFUL. And I think it will help me a lot as I continue to navigate along this crazy authorly path. Thank you!!

  7. Not a published author, but I have found the zone before. I love just sitting there and typing away . . . though sometimes I get frustrated when the story comes faster than I type. (Sometimes I want to know what happens even more than I want to preserve it for others.)