Thursday, March 25, 2010

How does it feel?

Kelli over at Criminal Minds has a great post here about the ecstasy and joy of writing, of capturing the words dancing in your brain and sharing them with others through the written word.

What does writing, when it’s perfect and the words just flow, transforming the words in your head into words you can share, transforming you into a writer, feel like for you? How do you describe it? And do you use that remembered feeling to help you over the rough parts of not being able to write?


  1. It feels like surfing, if I could surf. I've seen them catch the waves, on tv and at home, when the big ones come in, and that lucky guy hits the edge of the curl just right and rides in the tube, the arc of water above, the floor of water below, the hollow he's standing in, holding on, hanging on, balancing on a single 10 foot board waiting with his breath held, to see if he crashes, or explodes out the other side into the dazzling sunlight, triumphant in his journey, knowing he beat the ocean this time.

    That's how I feel when I write an absolutely fantastic piece of writing. Especially when I do it right out of the box, no revisions, no drafts.

    And no, I can't use it to help me over the rough parts of not being able to write, it's a totally different wave dude.

  2. Ooo I love this post! I love this question! I can't describe the feeling except that it's pure adrenaline... you can't get enough of it and when you finally realize it has to end the trip downhill begins. I am excited to write this evening because I have a feeling that the words will flow, I am lucky in this current WIP to have had such inspiration to fly right by!

  3. I'm sort of with Anne on the surfing thing.

    I sit down and paddle my way out to sea with words, then try to bring the writing to shore with humor or action. Sometimes I catch a good wave. Sometimes I go back to the beach and just frown at the sea, feeling foiled again.

  4. The feeling is the same I get on a plane, at takeoff: that giddy, incredible sensation that you can go anywhere, be anything. Away from the world and its cares.

    But I love, love, love PW's description: it makes you feel the spray and the wind and the salt water.... :-)

    Now, if only we were able to capture that kind of feeling, bottle it and spray it around us when we float to the bottom...well, wouldn't it be great?

  5. I would describe it as mind-altering. Like John Gardner's "vivid, continueous dream". Yes...a dreamscape wherein you forget time, laundry, the kink in your neck, hunger, war...

  6. Thank you so much for this! Today was one of those days were every word was a struggle to write, I forgot how much joy I feel when it flows. I think it feels like peace. Like I feel more complete, and I feel empowered that I can accomplish good things.

  7. I never know I if I hit the mark until I hear responses to what I wrote, and even then it is hard for me to trust. Are people being nice or honest? 10thDoM helped me in my writing a bit more.

  8. Great post! First off, Kelli is TERRIFIC and I don't get over to Criminal Minds nearly often enough. Thanks for the link and for reminding me about this excellent grog. :)

    The feeling? Don't know if I can describe it. I don't recognize it while it's happening, although it inevitably involves a wish I could type faster. There is an overwhelming desire to get words on paper before they disappear from my brain. Also, I'm suddenly no longer concerned about word count...

  9. I'd say it's when I lose my sense of reality, lose my grounding in the world around me. I forget that I'm a girl sitting in a chair typing on the keyboard, looking at words on a screen; instead, I'm inside a movie, watching flesh-and-blood people interacting in this dark world.

    It's amazing, and while I don't remember to remember it when I'm in a slump, I can recall the feeling pretty easily.

  10. It's like a runner's high. You don't always get it when you run. But when you do, oh wow! It's that feeling you get that drives you to do it everyday, in hopes that today will be the day. :)

  11. I love it when that happens to me! It's as though I view the world through different eyes. (Oh, and I am a lot nicer to everyone around me!)

  12. Wow, great question! When my writing is flowing, I feel like I'm not actually 'there' at all - I don't need to think what comes next, it just happens! This is the feeling I cling on to when it's going super slowly.

  13. I wish the words were "dancing" in my brain. I'm pretty sure it's more like a "mosh pit."

  14. My answer would be most like Yvonne's...euphoric dream state. It's pretty magical.

    But I loved reading Anne's experience!

    Anyway, how do YOU explain it?? You didn't answer your own question, and I wanna know.


  15. It feels like the beach. Sometimes the words only trickle in - like when you're standing at the water's edge and it's just barely touching your toes - and other days they come like waves that you dive into the base of and let rush over you. If you don't dive, then you're going to get knocked down and you'll miss something - probably as you're tumbling head over feet back to shore, to where you started. I love lying underneath the words, letting them move over me, and just experiencing every particle of what they have to offer.

  16. Giddy, like finding the perfect gift for someone and you can't wait to have them open it so you can see their reaction.

  17. When it actually happens, it feels wonderful. But... for me, it doesn't happen very often. Most of the time I stare at a blank page for a while before I force myself to write something.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the words just flowed, constantly, forever? So nice!

    Great post!

  18. Oooo, thanks for the link. Great question! I like Jen's answer, so I'm stealing it. "it's pure adrenaline... you can't get enough of it and when you finally realize it has to end the trip downhill begins." Ha ha. :-)

  19. i often find writing uncomfortable and painful. When i do have a moment or two of the words just flowing, i'm often too deep in my own head to even notice.
    Still, i feel accomplished, when it's all said and done

  20. It feels like I'm possessed. Truly. Quite often I have no idea where the story is going until I've reached the destination.

    Can be exciting and terrifying all at the same time :)

  21. When I'm in the Zone, it feels as if my skull has opened up and a liquid rive of fire is flowing through my brain. I have no choice but to keep typing, as I'm caught up in these rapids and the only way to survive is to write it all down. Often when this happens, I don't clearly remember what I've written after the writing session is over. Such an incredible feeling!

  22. Anne, the surfing thing sounds so perfect. I wish I could do it. And I totally get why you feel that way. :)

    Jen, I’m so happy for you. You sound so excited. And I’m thrilled the inspiration goddess has found you. :)

    Christi, I love the image of paddling out to sea and waiting for the writing wave to bring you home. Even if the writing wave is fickle. :)

    Nym, I’m with you on the feeling of takeoff. I love that. It’s so full of possibilities. And yeah, bottling that would rock. :)

    Yvonne, I can only hope to reach that state of altered consciousness. A dreamscape sounds divine.

    Crystal, you’re welcome. We all struggle and we could all use a little peace.

    Amy, people are being honest. Your work is incredible.

    VR, you’re welcome. I know what you mean about not being able to get the words out fast enough before they disappear like vapor on the wind.

    Summer, I’m glad you can recall such a beautiful feeling so easily. I’m a little jealous. And I love your description of being inside a movie.

    Stina, you make me wish I ran so that I could experience the high. And yes, we are all chasing the dream that today will be that day.

    Betty, I’m LOL! I’m a lot nicer, too. :)

    Talli, thanks. I’m glad you can find that feeling even when things are slow. :)

    Pat, I’m LMAO! I’m sure there’s plenty of dancing in your brain. :)

    Lola, magic is good. I’m a little jealous. For me it’s like the words wash over me, flow through me, and it’s so effortless when I’m in the zone. It’s a beautiful place to be. Thanks for asking. :)

    E. Elle, I love your description. And this? I love lying underneath the words, letting them move over me, and just experiencing every particle of what they have to offer. I totally get that.

    Erika, oh, that’s lovely. It is like that, isn’t it? A lovely gift you give.

    Kimberly, It would be nice it they flowed endlessly. I’m sorry they don’t for you and I hope, think, believe they will again soon.

    Shannon, you’re welcome. And yep, it’s pure adrenaline.

    Falen, oh, that does sound painful. I’m sorry. But I’m glad you take something good and positive from the experience.

    Wendy, exactly. And I hope things are going along really well for you right now as you work toward your destination.

    B. Miller, wow. That does sound incredible. It’s quite an image of a liquid river of fire. Very impressive.

  23. I liken being in the groove of writing a new manuscript to being possessed - in a good way. It just consumes me and I can't squeeze in enough time to write until I'm tuckered out. And when it's done, I feel triumphant.

  24. Good question. Hmmm. I'd say I just feel connected. Like somehow my feelings are hot wired to my vocab with a dash of creativity thrown in.

  25. It's bloodletting. When it the words flow, it's like your blood pouring out of you, flowing from your whole body, out of your fingertips onto the page. When you can't write, and the block is at its worst, it's like the leeches aren't there. The doctors with their knives and scalpels and bowls don't let the words out of you. You feel rotten and contaminated and cooped-up.

  26. I lose my sense of everything. Time speeds by but I don't notice it, and when I'm finished writing, it's like waking from a trance.

    Love days like that.

  27. Theresa, triumphant is a great thing. I'm impressed that you are able to do all that you do writing and teaching. :)

    Portia, I love that image of hot-wired to your vocab. That's a great place to be.

    Postman, wow, that's intense. :)

    Jade, I love those days, too. And I wish they were more frequent. :)

  28. it is definitely a wonderful feeling when you get feedback expressing that they completely understood what you were trying to say. that they could FEEL what you were writing.... i think that is very important as a writer. some things that i've written, that i wasn't crazy about, i got a great response, and then it made me feel like, hmmm, maybe i can't always be the judge. i think that i'm usually the one writing it, then it usually makes sense to me. i'm not typically a person that needs the positive feedback to feel "justified" but if just ONE person can FEEL what i've written, then i feel accomplished.
    i have all the thoughts.
    i have all the memories.
    all the images.
    all of the feelings to go with it....
    i do constantly strive for that feeling or re-reading it and reLIVING that moment, because usually it is a good moment that i choose to share, (or a bad one that's just funny, or holds a very valuable lesson with it.)