Thursday, February 21, 2013

Perils of the Writer: Keeping Routine and Getting in the Zone

I don't try too hard to be a creature of routine, partly because I think it helps to be able to work whenever you get a chance.  This is part of why I'm not a big fan of working "on the cloud"-- I like being able to open my laptop anywhere and being able to work on something, be it writing or outlining or worldbuilding, and I can't have my ability to work be dictated by the strength of my internet signal.*

But I do have some routines, of course, as life demands we keep certain schedules.  Thursday mornings, for example, are pretty locked down: take my son to school, stopping for breakfast tacos on the way over.  Drop him off, go to the gym for an hour and change.  Drop my wife off for her class, and settle in at the coffee shop, and write this blog entry.  Once that's done, get working on other writing projects.  

Now, how much other writing work gets done on a Thursday morning depends on a few factors.  One, how long it takes me to write this blog.  Next is, once the blog is done, how long it takes me to get the Writer Brain into the zone. 

Unfortunately, it's not something I can just turn on like a switch.  Some writers can do that, I most definitely can not.  On top of that, writing this blog doesn't quite do the job of putting my brain there.  It's a gear shift, it's a different set of muscles.  It's similar, and getting myself in a typing groove helps, but it's not the whole story. 

Part of getting in the zone means almost putting my Writer Brain into a trance state.  That involves music.  Now, a lot of writers talk about constructing soundtracks for their work, and that's awesome, but I can't do that.  Well, I can, but the music I need to use usually doesn't have any sort of thematic connection to the work. 

You see, I have a wide and eclectic taste in music.  But my Writer Brain is a tasteless traitor.  It doesn't want thematically interesting music.  It doesn't want a mood-setting soundtrack.  It wants the pop-iest, four-chordiest, hook-filled riffs, and it wants it on repeat.  It wants songs that I won't even tell you, because it's just plain embarrassing for a 39-year-old man to be listening to some of this stuff.

But that's what gets the work out.  So I've got to give it what it wants.

Time to get in the zone.

*- The coffee shop where I currently am tends to have... sporadic problems.  Posting the blog from here is sometimes challenging.  If I had to rely on it for ALL work, I'd be screwed.


A. Lockwood said...

My writer brain only accepts electronica.

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

Google yourself some Tritonal featuring Cristina Soto, then. That's some good stuff.

||| laura frantz ||| said...

Google Drive provides offline access to content like a hard drive but pushes to the server when it has a connection. Offline cloudiness.

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

Laura-- Exactly. I use the cloud to back things up in case of catastrophe, but I want what I actually work on to be on the machine I'm working on.