When I started out as a writer, I used to get in the “zone” after a cup of black coffee, or by staying up long into the demented hours of the night, when all turns magical and moonlit.
But in the last two years I learned to create the zone; not wait around for inspiration to hit. How do I open the gate into that flowy writing feeling? Three methods work for me: stream of consciousness writing (or timed writing), list poems, and meditation.
What happens? One theory is these tap into our subconscious mind. We swim through and past all the noisy thoughts we know about into deeper, more hidden kernels. Some of these transform themselves into stories.
How to get into the flow? Give it a try. Even if you’re not a writer, these exercises can be very revealing to you about what’s “really” going on in your mind.
“Stream of Consciousness” or “Timed Writing” – literally just write. Set the timer for something like 10 minutes, and start writing. Rules are, you can’t cross out anything, and try not to pause. If you are already panicking, you can start with a sentence or phrase like “today I walked”.
“List Poem” – make a list. What can happen: at the beginning I knew what would come out, because it echoed what was in my conscious mind. After awhile the repetition lulled part of my brain to sleep, and more interesting and deep things surfaced. You can start with something like:
“I wake up to ..” or “I believe …” or “I hope to …”
“I wake up to the alarm. I wake up to children laughing. I wake up to coffee. I wake up to a missing sense of purpose …”
In my case, a mix of trivial things along with something to look at, a little dragon in my mind.
I can also recommend “Writing Your Way” by Manjusvara, for unlocking the gate to flowing ink. Enjoy using those pens!