Writers: using the right and left sides of your brain

The Creative Zone is a magical place – but when we deliberately set out to get back into The Zone – guess what? We can’t find our way back. And the more we try, the harder it seems. If only we knew where it was… Does The Zone really exist as an anatomical entity in our brains? Where is it?

The Creative Zone

For writers, the Creative Zone is a wonderful place to be. The Zone is where everything seems possible, our thoughts fly free and words just flow onto the page without any struggle or effort.  Although the work we produce in The Zone will need to be shaped and edited at a later date, it is in The Zone – this magical place – that we weave and spin the raw material that forms the basis of our finished writing. Continue reading “Writers: using the right and left sides of your brain”

Are you writing in The Zone? 7 key signs

Writing in The Zone is a great experience, we all agree. Here are the 7 signs you’ve arrived.

Can you tell when your creative juices are truly flowing?flowing water illustrating creative juices, for writes

Most of us experience moments when we seem to be functioning at a higher level – so bound up in our creative work we believe we are operating on a different plane from normal.  When this happens, we often say we are in The Zone.

The creative zone. It’s a wonderful feeling.

spacer - Ruth Livingstone - writer

Seven ways to tell if you are writing in The Zone

  1. You sit down and start. A few minutes later you discover four hours (or more) have passed.
  2. During this time you felt no urge to eat or drink or take a pee.
  3. What is happening to your characters feels more real than what is happening in the real world.
  4. People talk to you. You hear their words but you have no idea what they mean.
  5. If you try to speak – to answer the phone, for example – you are unable to form a coherent sentence.
  6. You find it amazingly easy to write and you can’t bear to stop.
  7. Afterwards you feel exhilarated but exhausted.

Writing in The Zone is a great experience, we all agree. When you’re there you never want to leave.

But The Zone is an elusive place. You won’t find it on any map. Sometimes it’s very difficult to get to. That is why writing can be such a frustrating and challenging and heart-breaking task.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could always just slip back whenever we wanted to?

Read the next blog post, where I try to work out where The Zone actually is.
Writers: using the left and right sides of your brain.

Learning from mistakes: writing my new novel

My old novel had been a monster that had threatened to eat me alive. The new novel was going to be different. I was going to tame the beast before it got the better of me.

spacer - Ruth Livingstone - writer

Giving up is hard

Notebook with red crossA couple of months ago I gave up on a novel I had been trying to write for a few years. I analysed what had gone wrong and listed some of the problems in a blog post: Why I Abandoned My Novel .

Giving up was a difficult decision to make and I spent some time convincing myself I was doing the right thing. In writing – as in anything in life – making mistakes is OK. This is how we learn. To stay cheerful, I found a great collection of quotes on learning from mistakes and many of these quotes come from some very good writers. Continue reading “Learning from mistakes: writing my new novel”

A writer’s confession: why I abandoned my novel.

By the time I started typing I already had the novel set out in my mind. I typed quickly, I typed furiously and the words just flew onto the page.

wastepaper basket - Ruth LivingstoneIn July 2013, I decided to abandon the novel I had been working on for a couple of years.

In the Beginning…

I began writing with great enthusiasm during NaNoWriMo in November 2011. At that time, I had completed the Open University course “Start writing fiction” and had just enrolled in a BA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University. I was an avid reader and knew a bit about writing.

At first it was easy. Continue reading “A writer’s confession: why I abandoned my novel.”

Plot threads

String and knot - Ruth Livingstone, Ruthless Scribblings

Watch an average episode of an average TV soap opera. How many plot strands do you see? Do they run alongside each other or are they consecutive? Are they linked together – and if so, how?

I am doing a course in Scriptwriting as part of my Birkbeck BA in creative writing and that is the homework question for this week.

I have already noticed that some TV series consistently present two story lines, often with very little apparent connection between the two. Here are three examples: Continue reading “Plot threads”