On January 2nd I put out a call for questions (in conjunction with a contest) and many of you asked some great ones! Every Wednesday (until I run out of questions), I’ll be answering them here! There may be ones that are related, so I’ll answer multiple questions at once. You can always add a new questions to the queue by posting them as a comment here.
Ben Buckley says: When you start to write a new book, what steps do you take to get yourself in the zone? Love the books! Can’t wait for the 4th!!!
The “zone” is a hard concept for me. Yes, I totally believe it exists. There are times, I call them golden times, when I sit down to write and I look up fifteen pages and two hours later and haven’t even felt the time pass. That isn’t something I can plan for neccesarily, but I do not turn it away when it comes knocking.
I do my best to be ready for it when it comes, though. I do character sheets and plot intensively so that I don’t run out of road if I hit a really big jag of writing goodness. I give myself a workspace where I can find what I need and the clutter doesn’t (usually) distract me. I make sure I have enough to drink or eat before I start (and a drink next to me). You don’t want to get into a zone and then need a Diet Coke.
I think after writing for so long, too, you also become more capable of finding “the zone”. Your body is trained that when you sit down at your computer with your notes or whatever, it’s time to go to work. Doing that over and over again will bring the zone into your every day writing life.