Earlier today I went running with my dog. It’s the same path we’ve been running every summer for a few years now. We both know it well and it isn’t too far from home so I can let him do his thing – running and sniffing – while I do mine. It was pretty nice out, sunny, dry, temperature hovering around 72 degrees, and a nice breeze. A near perfect day for running. And just as I cut back on to the regular mowed trail I got into the zone. If you run you know it’s where your pacing is just right. You’re neither running too fast nor too slow. Your arms are moving in perfect motion, and you’ve captured the rhythm of breathing to match that pace so that running is almost effortless.You're in the zone.
Likewise, if I’m writing I don't have to think too hard. The words just come to me. And if I left my characters in a pickle I can suddenly see how to get them out. If I'm revising I know which words/phrases to cut and how to close the gap. Or if I'm starting something new the various plot lines are like a puzzle I've already figured out, the characters people I know, and words flow like wine from head to fingers to screen, like magick.
How do you know you're in the zone?