Back in high school, I dreaded pleasant weather, because we would have to go run laps around the track in gym. It would be way too humiliating to miss the honor roll because of my P.E. grade, so I at least attempted a wheezing sort of gallumph around the track, accompanied by shouts "Just Do It" from the latest in a line of unsympathetic coaches.
So I don't get the sports metaphor when it comes to writing. At least, not in a positive way. I've never experienced the runner's high. I've never found that rhythm where something hard becomes easy. The best I've done is reach a point where momentum has made it less hard. And yes, there are definitely writing days like that.
But on good days, writing is dancing. Physically, it's just as hard as sports. But when the music plays, the stress and exertion take a back seat to the joy of expression. It's still hard work: remembering turnout and technique, placement and grace, remembering the choreography and staying in time with the music. But you're creating something: an experience, a picture, a moment of connection with an audience. Or maybe you're just dancing for yourself. Either way, you're striving, exerting, working--and having a whole helluva lot of fun.
Maybe some people feel that way about running, or about football, or gymnastics. But "in the zone" for me is dancing: hard work and preparation, and the joy of doing something I love, and the satisfaction when I feel in my bones that I'm doing it well.
Monday, December 1, 2008
White Flow from Rosemary Clement-Moore
Here's how Rosemary Clement-Moore, author of the smart and funny Maggie Quinn books - Prom Dates from Hell, Hell Week, and Highway to Hell - feels about the white flow :