The Red Zone of Writing: What Inspiration Feels Like

Posted By Mandi Lindner on Nov 30, 2012 | 0 comments

As I discussed in a previous post, I am a planner, a note taker, and a thinker. Before I sit down to write I’ve pretty much already mapped the piece out and wrote it in my head.

Sometimes, though, something takes over and I end up writing a completely different piece. Or perhaps what I intended to write is drastically changed once I put pen to paper, proverbially speaking.

My last post talked a little bit about inspiration and then focused on what to do once you have it – how to capture those ideas once they’re flowing. Now I’m going to delve into what it’s like to write with a muse and how you can recognize the brainstorm signs in order to take advantage of them.

The Red Zone of Writing

Aaron Rodgers setting the Packers offense during touchdown drive

PS – I get to meet QB1 in 10 days.

I’m a football fan. When my team (Go Pack Go!) gets in the red zone, they are within yards of scoring a touchdown. The Packers also just happen to be incredibly efficient in this high pressure zone.

This is kind of like when inspiration hits me. Some writers call it their muse. I call it the zone. The Red Zone, to be exact. That moment of inspiration where I know I’m going to score points, but something inside me buckles down to ensure it’s 7 points and not a measly three.

It’s not always a conscious effort either.

You know that feeling when you drive home from work, pull in the garage, and can’t remember any details of actually getting from point A to point B?

That’s the same subconscious, let’s be honest, zombie-like feeling I sometimes get when I write. I zone out, am maybe only half aware of what I’m writing, and at the end of it I am sure that what I’ve just typed is crap because I haven’t been paying full attention.

Like QB1 who insists something, a minor detail of a play, could’ve been executed better on a wonderfully successful touchdown drive.

That’s the Red Zone of writing for me.

Scoring touchdowns with inspired writing, but never fully trusting that what got me there is good enough. In these instances I’ll save the work, sleep on it (metaphorically, at least), and come back to it in a few hours or days. What I usually find is, indeed, a touchdown. Maybe not every detail on the play was executed perfectly (i.e. it needs a bit of editing), but maybe with enough practice and enough touchdowns, I can learn to trust my Red Zone offense.

In my next post I will discuss how you can trigger the Red Zone offense – ways in which you can force a brainstorm of ideas if you are having a bit of writer’s block.



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