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The Writing Trance

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by A. E. Lowan, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I'm sitting here spacing out and getting ready to write, and suddenly it occurred to me: does anyone else do this? In the patterns that rule my life, I get my coffee, do social media for about an hour, and then go back over the previous day's writing and notes and sort of trance out as words begin to form in my head. And then, it's off to the (slow) races.

    Does anyone else trance out when they write, or is it a conscious effort to produce pages? Sometimes I feel like I don't so much have a story as I'm chasing my pretend friends around, recording their adventures and writing up the incident report.
  2. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

    It's called Flow.
  3. Seira

    Seira Minstrel

    I do both. Sometimes I trance out other times it's more conscious when no ideas are coming to me or I need to really work something through. I do my best thinking away from PC and Paper. I tend to find mundane activities to do to keep my body moving and this helps activate my mind, although sometimes I get in a muddle while on auto-pilot ad find my nickers in the cereal bowl and my cereal next to the laundry basket. Really, that happened once.
  4. Kasper Hviid

    Kasper Hviid Sage

    My brain requires deadlines. If I set a timer to a specific length of time, then my brain accepts that it should focus on writing and writing only. I don't know if you could rightly call it trance or flow, it doesn't feel all that spiritual to me. It's just that I don't think about anything else in that period.
  5. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

    I have both. My routine before starting is always the same (and pretty similar to yours...). I get a cup of tea, browse the internet for maybe half an hour (youtube videos on writing or other stuff usually) and then settle down to write, often with a second cup of tea.

    From that point on, I either have to wrestle the words on to the page or they flow naturally. It often, though not always, depends on how well I know what's coming next. And many times, it goes from wrestling words on to the page to a flow somewhere during the writing session. The first sentences often feel clunky. But after a couple it gets better. Sort of like needing a warming-up.
  6. The only sustained writing I do is first thing in the morning. I learned the gift of "embracing routine" from my time spent in a Zen monastery when I was younger, It was proven to me then that the brain stays quiet/passive when it doesn't have to strategize, problem solve or adapt as much all the time. I found it also works better before it has a chance to wake fully, be that for meditation, writing, etc.

    So I write for two-plus hours every morning, 4:30 ish, first thing, with coffee and pastry and the only sound being a purring cat and the click clack of the keyboard. I can't dive into anything else before this creative time or it changes the way my brain works and I have trouble staying on task. I could never let the invasive outside world in (no email, no social media, no devices) and still get into that prime writing space. It's just become my go-to routine. The rest of the day I still get plenty of inspired ideas for scenes, world building, a few lines here and there, maybe a plot twist, and I can write those down and dive into them on another morning.

    And in that space, yes, the words flow from a very trance like state. Everything comes easier then. As long as my brain hasn't found the editor mode yet, I'm good. :)

    I feel lucky to have grown up just before the deluge of our modern, 24/7 connectivity and remember the peace of mind in not having to think about it during my day. I find it's looming presence everywhere we turn to be a total distraction and quite oppressive. The news, emails, messages etc will be there when I am ready for them later. Nothing is more important than that space and keeping it, and my brain, as uncluttered as I can for those few hours each day. Of course, that's just my routine and someone else may well be able to write productively in ten minute bursts throughout the day. But that flow only happens first thing for me.
  7. oenanthe

    oenanthe Minstrel

    It happens sometimes. I don't get mystical about it.
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    When I get going, I'm in the POV character's head, and I kind of start hearing them dictate what they see and feel and etc. Don't know if I'd describe it as a trance, but it's a deep focus, where stuff going around me get's focused out.
  9. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    When I was younger, the best writing I did happened in what I called The Writer's Trance. It was only an occasional thing, over which I had no control, but having been writing seriously for over 25 years, I don't need the trance anymore.

    Funny thing is, I now seem to be in the trance every day. In fact, when I'm generating a first draft, I never remember what I did until I review it the following day. It's the closest I ever get to reading my own work as a reader.

    Cool story.
  10. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I just shut everything else out and concentrate on the story. That's not a trance or anything. It's just being wrapped up in your work.

    Cheers, Greg.
  11. I have this repeated problem where I get started with my writing for the night, intending to go to bed around midnight, but then I get In The Zone and end up awake at 2am, still writing...

    It can go very differently, though. I always have days where I have to force myself to write.

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