In the Zone

Anyone who is creative on a regular basis knows what I'm talking about when I mention being, "in the zone." It's a blissful feeling of whatever you seem to be working on, no matter what it is, absorbing you into it's personal existence as you flow with it. (Maybe working is the wrong word, more like bringing it to life.) It's such a friggin' fantastic feeling and a lot of times when I get lost in that feeling I can't get out of it for hours. Which can be detrimental if you, ya' know, have to eat or something.

Sometimes it can even feel like a high, something you don't want to come back down from and it makes your senses overflow with a feeling of complete serenity. It's as if whatever you're making has decided to deliver you this massive answer to a question you've been trying to get for decades. You even look crazy too. Your eyes are glossed over like a mad person and everything around you kind of disappears into a black hole.

Lately I've been in this crazy mode of non-stop creation. I've experienced these heightened senses of being in the zone more than once a day and sometimes I forget hours have passed and I'm wondering where the day has gone. It can be exhausting but the feeling of exhilaration is fantastic. It's even been able to bring me back from the brink of depression and helped with growth inside of me as an individual.

I used to have a lot of confidence issues in my creative process when I was younger. This was a large road block to me finding the ability to just let whatever needed to be said or created to come out of me. Didn't matter what it was, I was always second guessing my own creative intuition. That is like stabbing yourself in the foot with a shiv, it only hurts and keeps you from walking forward. Getting in the zone never happened then, until I actually learned to let go of the need to be in some kind of perfected technique. I'm a self taught artist and a lot of the things I create come from just getting my hands dirty and going with it. It also doesn't help when you can't express yourself freely. Expression is what it's all about. It's sexy. It's great. It's amazing. I love it. More of it.

So where does one cultivate the ability to get "in the zone" and out of the "how can I do this I suck" zone? My simple personal answer has been: culmination and spontaneity. Through a process of using everything you've learned about in your own life experiences, hobbies, and ideals; it will come to you as you pick up that paintbrush or digital pen. It doesn't matter what it is. It can be anything. All of the things that make me feel happy, fun, or like I'm learning something deeper about myself will fuel whatever it is I'm working on. Sometimes this can lead to my own self mimicry in my art but it's through that expression that I can keep creating something that is personal enough to satisfy the thirst of being true to myself.

So, what am I getting at? Perhaps being "in the zone" is really about being shown intuitively that you are "on the right path" towards creating whatever it is you have to get out of you. Almost like a personal compass that's pointing you towards your creative goals. Shouting at you and giving you a little personal shot of dopamine so you can keep going. It's sexy. It's great. It's amazing. I love it. Lots more of it.

If you do manage to get in this zone and you are someone that likes to create things, I say this: Don't stop. Just feel it and go with it. When you step away, you will probably see something quite amazing that you didn't know you had inside of you. Even if that means you drew a popsicle made of dinosaur parts that have been soaking in a tub of moonshine and Cola. Okay that's a little weird...but you get the idea.


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