Zone in Progress

A while ago, a friend encouraged me to start blogging again, and so here I (finally) am. I’m still writing (3/4 through a new YA historical novel), still playing tennis, still struggling with PLOT and still struggling (a bit) with my forehand groundstroke. However! This does not mean progress has not been made!

In my tennis game, I have learned a few new advanced shots – the forehand and backhand slice – which have come fairly easily, for some odd reason. I’ve learned more game strategies. I’ve learned to make educated guesses as to my opponents next shot. My tennis has definitely improved.

On the writing side, I’ve developed a nice record-keeping strategy, which keeps me focused and motivated. I’ve written close to 350 pages – over half of which will never be seen by anyone other than my dog (trust me, it’s better that way). I count those pages as an accomplishment, however, because they were the necessary work to get to where I am in my story today. Those pages are akin to my hitting the tennis ball against the wall in the church parking lot. They were needed practice, and my writing has benefited from them.

But with all this progress, I am still freezing up on my forehand and many days my writing is painfully slow. Why?
Unfortunately, I have the same, old brain.
The impatient brain that wants to be great RIGHT NOW.
The brain that critiques each shot, each sentence.
The brain that doesn’t trust my abilities, and that worries about making mistakes.

I have had many tennis sessions working exclusively on my forehand. With time, I always get into
a groove and I have it! No worries!
I have also had writing sessions – using a pen and paper – where the story and voices are coming so fast, it’s like I’m a court reporter, barely keeping up with the action. In both these cases, I am what my tennis instructor calls ‘in the zone.’ I am not listening to any inner critic, I am only focusing on the action in front of me. Though 3 1/2 months have passed since New Year’s, I am making my resolution now:
Go for the zone, and leave my critic in the car.

How do you get in your zone?

Next post: Making Procrastination Work for You

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