Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Trance

Isn't it strange how the days just merge together? It doesn't help that my day job has me working evenings with strange days off (Wednesday and Sunday). Sometimes it takes a minute for me to remember what day it is. 

I am in a routine of get up, shower and dress, and sit in front of the computer until it's time to go to work. I don't think very hard about the day of the week except to keep track of when I have a day off coming up. 

Keeping track of the days is even harder now that I am in that trance state. If you've been in the middle of a first draft, you know what I am talking about. That feeling of being disconnected with reality. I go through the motions of eating, driving, and working, but it feels like my spirit is somewhere else. Inside my book, thinking and breathing my characters.

It's a good feeling, because for this book in particular the characters were a long time coming. I used to wish I was one of those writers who came up with plots first, and then characters. But with my current work in progress, The Heart's Remains, I came up with the premise first. It's been really different to work backwards, but the good news is I finally feel like I am in the mind set of my characters. I guess that's what I get for thinking writers who come up with the plot first have it "easier". There is no easier, there's just a different approach. 

I am really glad I have the Internet to meet other writers with. Truly. I am a social person, and I don't usually have a hard time interacting with other people. But sometimes, like now, when I experience something outside the normal, like my book trance, I feel alone. My co-workers comment I seem spacier than normal. And how can I explain? I am spacing out because I am picturing my book, my characters? I am thinking about what they eat for dinner, and which side of the bed my main character prefers to sleep on? I actually tried to explain to a coworker once, but got a lot of strange looks after that. So I simply smile now, and say I am daydreaming.

At no other time is the inherent "weirdness", that strangeness that marks me as a writer, more obvious than when I am a book trance. It seems ironic that one of the markers of being a writer should also be one of my favorite aspects of it. I LOVE the feeling of being far away, in book land. But it can be very lonely.

It's actually hard for me to reconnect with the real world sometimes. It takes a certain mental concentration to pay attention to what people are saying that I don't normally have to work for. But when my heart is in the book, it's a struggle to pay attention to people. 

Even if I can connect with people in real life, I still feel like an outsider. They wouldn't understand if I tried to explain to them that I am in the story world right now. Which is why I am glad I have the Internet, and other writers. Maybe you guys don't leave the real world behind exactly in the same manner I do, but you still understand where I am coming from. Or rather, where I am going. Because you've been there before too.

I just wanted to thank all of my followers and people who stop by my blog for making this writer's life a little less solitary. 

Do you ever feel removed from "normal" people? How do you deal with that? Does it bother you?


  1. I guess I've never thought of it as "book trance." I think of it more as being in the "zone," that elusive place where words and scenes and character all come together to the point that you can't type fast enough.

    I wish I could bottle the zone. I wish I could drop into the zone or book trance on demand. The thing is, I can't, and I don't believe any writer has ever been able to do so.

    That's why this is so damn hard and why we all love it so much. It's like a reluctant lover who holds us captive until the mood strikes them. It's frustrating as hell, yet we won't stop until they give it up just one more time.

  2. I think of it as the zone too! I too wish I could bottle it or push a button or SOMETHING to instantly go into the zone. Because sometimes I think I am only in the zone when it's the worst possible timing. *sigh*

    Thank you for the wonderful comment and welcome!