The Creativity Zone
No, you don’t have to worry about Rod Serling stepping out of the shadows to say you’ve entered another dimension, but the Creativity Zone isn’t too far removed from the Twilight one.
The Creativity Zone refers to that state of mind I fall into when I’m working on a creative project, usually writing fiction. There are times when I slip into this state of immersion, where the world slips away as I’m writing and all I see are the words on the screen and the story unfolding in my head. It’s like I’m wearing blinders and noise cancelling headphones…I don’t see anything or hear anything outside of my little bubble.
It’s almost like a trance. I’m hypnotized by the story unfolding before me, I’m watching the characters, listening to them. I don’t feel as if I’m writing the story as much as I’m viewing it.
And time slips away, as well. There’s been more than one occasion when my partner has to tap me on the shoulder and remind me to get up and move. And while writing can be difficult, when I’m in the Creativity Zone it seems to become much easier. It may be that when I’m in that zone, I’m not thinking about writing. I’m just letting it happen.
In most of my writing sessions I’m aware of what I’m doing. Maybe even a little self-conscious about it. I overthink, I question decisions, I can struggle with the plot or direction the narrative is taking. But in the zone, none of that matters. I simply write. The words flow on their own accord. I’m just a conduit between my imagination and the keyboard. It’s like I’ve let my muse take the driver seat and I become a passenger.
There are only a few things that break this state of mind. The first is when my partner gets worried and snaps me out of it so I’ll eat something or take a walk. The next is when I’m exhausted. After nearly an hour of being in the Zone my mind just tires out and I have to take a break. The last is when I begin to think for myself. I’ll write a line or three and stop and think about what I’m doing…and that’s when the spell is broken. Once that happens, it’s tough to get back into it. I usually end up calling it a day and move on to something else.
Being in the Zone, while it lasts, is one of my favorite things in life. It’s sort of like entering the Twilight Zone in that I enter another state of mind, of being. I’m transported from my reality into a different one where anything can happen. Most of the time I have no idea where it’s going to take me. Will it be the future or the past? Someplace terrifying or someplace warm and sunny? Will it be familiar or completely strange? I rarely know. It’s an adventure every time and that’s all that matters to me.
It’s also when I feel I do my best writing. I learned a long time ago that the more I think about it, the worse it turns out. I think that creativity works best when it’s more spontaneous, off the cuff, and not overly planned. If I think about it too much then I get caught up in little details worry too much about if it’s believable. Will the reader like this? Will they suspend their disbelief? When it comes down to it, that shouldn’t matter. All I want to do is tell a good story.
So I trust the Creativity Zone. I don’t think it’s going to steer me wrong. I don’t think I’ll end up like some of those unfortunate characters in Rod Serlings stories. At least, I hope not. If nothing else, I hope that getting into the Zone helps me to be as creative as Mr. Serling. If you didn’t know, he wrote most of those classic Twilight Zone episodes. And you know, maybe the Twilight Zone was the name of his creative zone, where all those wonderful stories originated.
But I’ll stick with my own Creativity Zone. ‘Tis a silly place, but it’s mine.