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  • Writer's pictureJudy

April 21, 2024; Flow

Flow, in psychological terms, is meant to show the state of being “in the zone”.  The term is used by artists, athletes, and other high achievers to describe the periods of time when they are able to do their best work.  When concentration and creativity come together. When we are so involved in our work that time becomes meaningless.


         A student recently used the term to describe the time she had just spent writing. It was during our weekly Student Writing Club meeting.  We were all in the Media Center.  More than forty students and three teachers.  Some students were sitting at tables, tapping away on their laptops, some were sitting on the floor where they could find space near an outlet to plug in their devices, others were in groups around one computer, or conferencing with a fellow writer or teacher. Backpacks were strewn all over while water bottles, cracker wrappers, notebooks, and pencils scattered across tabletops. The room was noisy, messy, and probably seemed a bit chaotic to an outsider.


         Yet for some inexplicable reason, so many of our student writers say they do their best work during these weekly ninety-minute meetings.   


         According to productivity experts, flow is best reached in “quiet environments free of distractions.”  That is clearly not our Writing Club meetings.


         My theory is that it is because of the energy in the room. They are surrounded by others who share their passion for writing.  Clearly it is not because it allows them more space or quiet concentration than other places or times.  It is not because outside distractions are minimalized or other responsibilities are discarded.  


But maybe that passion and enthusiasm coming from their fellow writers is infectious.  Maybe, the heartfelt zeal for writing that emanates from so many of these student writers, through osmosis, is shared with everyone in the room.


Perhaps that is why writers’ groups are so important to adult authors as well.  Writing is a solitary endeavor, and most of us do the vast majority of our writing by ourselves, but often, when we feel our production or inspiration is faltering, or when we feel stalled out, we will often reach out and meet with fellow writers. It may be the support and encouragement that helps us break through our latest obstacle, or the insight and ideas shared that pushes away the clouds, but just being with those who share the same passion for writing, is always powerful and productive.


May we all find that tribe and reach that flow.

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