The Zone is my favourite place to be.
When I’m in The Zone, I’m in my element, doing what comes naturally.
I’ve most often reached this mythical place through writing, but any artistic or athletic endeavour can get you there…if you’re passionate about it.
Throughout time, people have associated The Zone with muses, because once you’re really in it, the work gets so easy that it feels like someone else is doing it for you. The book is writing itself. You’re not looking at the clock. You’re not worrying about everything else you have to do that day. You are completely focused on the task at hand.
Once you’re in The Zone, the worst thing you can do is take time off. If you leave that blissful state, it’s really hard to get back in. So sure–take a weekend or a brief holiday, but don’t take a week or two. The only bad thing about The Zone is how difficult it is to get there.
Five Tips For Getting Back Into The Zone:
1) Whatever you’re using to reach The Zone (writing, art, basketball, video game design), do it consistently. Spend the same amount of time at it every single day. It may feel like pulling teeth at first, but it will start coming easier and easier. If you put in the time, The Zone will find you.
2) Treat this practice time as sacred. Do whatever you can to avoid distractions. Shut off your phone and your email notifications. Ask your lovely and well-meaning spouse not to call you at that time. Gently guide all children and pets out of your office. This time is dedicated to your art, and you need to focus.
3) Do something. Obviously with athletics, this is a little easier. If I want to train to fight again, for instance, I can start by going back to the dojo tomorrow. It’ll be ugly at first, and exhausting, painful, and gruelling, but my coaches will guide me. My part will be to listen and then do what they tell me.
If the arts are your passion, it can seem difficult, because you can’t force that creativity. But the good news is, you actually can. The secret is to not beat yourself up. If you have a writer’s block over the novel you’re working on, switch it up. Write sketches of your characters. Do some journaling or free association writing. Write a short story. The trick is to actually do something with your practice time, even if it’s not what you’d most like to be doing.
4) Commit to doing the same thing every day (or almost). I take weekends off, but that’s it. I’ve learned from painful experience that a long break is the worst thing I can do for my writing…and my sense of well being. As I get closer to the end of a novel, I’ll usually write on weekends too.
5) Make sacrifices. Life is important. You don’t want to miss out on everything because you’re constantly holed up in your studio, but it doesn’t take much time to get into The Zone and stay there. Could you give up an hour each day? Half an hour? What is it worth to you?
You’re going to have to give up something, whether it’s an hour of sleep, an hour of television, an hour of Internet surfing, or an hour of video games.
What is success worth to you?
How do you get in The Zone?
This is one of the best videos about success I’ve ever seen. How badly do you want it?
Thanks to everyone who supported me and visited this blog during the A to Z Challenge. I hope to see you here again!