30 October 2013

How to Write in the Zone for a Fast Draft

One of the greatest predictors of successfully pre-plotting and writing a novel or memoir in a month is the ability to write in the zone. When you’re in the flow of your writing, words and ideas come to you effortlessly. You don’t second-guess yourself. You’re not timid and paranoid about your ability to persevere.

Writing fast encourages writing the zone. Lose yourself for one month and then you’re free for the rest of your life with an entire first draft of your story to shape. (Join me December 1st for PlotWriMo to re-vision your words into a story with a plot.)

Being in the zone means your ego-driven mind disappears, your mind quiets and your imagination is free to flow onto the page. Your awareness shifts from your fears and worries, your to-do lists and the who-do-I-think-I-am-to-take-all-this-time-to-write-a-story? stories in your mind and your negative beliefs about your writing. No longer in the cramped and squeezed space under a heavy burden, writing in the zone means giving your story your complete and full concentration and attention.

The more challenging your writing, the more energized and focused and emotionally gratified by your writing you become. When you’re in the zone whether for hours or for minutes, the quality and intensity of the writing are at their greatest and you write mostly by feel and intuition and heart.

17 Tips for Slipping into and Staying in the Zone
1) Regular exercise
2) Good diet Plenty of sleep
3) Drink lots of water
4) Establish a daily writing routine
5) Clear an entire month on your calendar -- no appointments or errands or outside demands (as much as possible)
6) Give yourself a clear and realistic daily writing goal -- push yourself to write longer every day 7) Decide where and when you’ll write daily with a minimum of distractions and interruptions.
7) Every thirty minutes stand up and stretch and breath deeply. Then sit down to write again
8) Give yourself at least a half an hour to get into the flow. Then, if you find your energy slipping switch to writing the next scene (If you’re stumped about what scene to write next, refer to The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing (all the way to the end).
9) Keep your pre-plot Plot Planner in sight and often refer to the handy guide.
10) Take risks with your writing. Be bold. Stretch yourself in your daily practice and continue studying the craft of writing.
11) Acknowledge when a limiting belief swamps your mind and ask yourself what you are most afraid of. Ask yourself what your writing would be like unconstrained by insecurity, anxiousness and fear Continually and intentionally direct your thoughts back to your writing in a one-pointed focus of attention to the scene in front of you
12) Write regularly to create a writing habit
13) Rather than concentrate on what isn’t working in your story or look too far into the future with the story, direct your attention to what you have just written. Ask yourself, because that happens, what does your character do next?
14) Each day, focus on one or two scenes and up to four scenes only and no further.
15) Write each day with no judgment. Your goal is to get the first draft written.
16) Acknowledge that, as the habit of daily writing solidifies, as the month proceeds the challenges of writing a first draft from beginning to end intensifies.
17) Stay with writing every day until you have achieved your daily word count. Congratulate yourself daily for your productivity.

You know you’re in the zone when time stops and you’re completely immersed in your story with full concentration. Good luck. See you December 1st for the 6th Annual International December is Plot Writing Month after you’ve successfully pre-plotted and written a novel or memoir in a month. (originally hosted by: Brian Klems at The Writer's Dig)

For help writing the 2 toughest scenes of your story, join me from the comfort of your home for this 1 1/2hour plot webinar hosted by The Writers Store: Writing Strong Crisis and Climax Scenes: The Two Keys to Screenplays That Connect with Audiences (and Hollywood)

Take the PLOTWRIMO Pre-Challenge:

You have 1 Month and 15 hours to get a draft written in time for PlotWriMo. Beginning December 1st, follow the exercises on the Plot Whisperer blog to re"vision" and redefine the plot arc of your story. PlotWriMo is custom designed to ensure your success even during the busiest time of the year.
Begin 2014 ready for a powerful rewrite.
The following resources support you in your pre-challenge:
1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of
The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories

2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
named BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS by Poets&Writers. The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.
3) Refer to The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing
for writing prompts for scene #1 to the very The End, one prompt at a time.

4) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. Scroll down on the left of this post for a directory of all the steps to the series. 27-step tutorial on Youtube

5) Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. Scroll down on the right of this post for a directory the book examples and plot elements discussed.

For more tips about how to use plot and the Universal Story in your novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Plot Whisperer on Pinterest 

***** Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot reinforces daily writing practice and allows for more productivity in your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today, I write.