The Zone

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I don’t know about you, but for me, the creative process requires a lengthy visit to “The Zone.” If you’re an artist of any kind, you probably know what I’m talking about, surely sense the obsessive urge, the quiver of excitement at the prospect of exploring undiscovered shores. My creative muse resides there, tantalizing and intoxicating, and she demands my undivided attention.

I love my forays into the Zone, despite its consumption of my life. It’s creative gluttony, stuffing my face with words, gobbling down characters, disgorging pathos. When I dive into the Zone, I’m not myself. I’m immersed in my craft, drowning in a taste of pure manna like an addict. The rest of the world fades into the hazy horizon as the Zone awakens that right brain craving.

As a writer, this is especially true during my first draft when a story’s taking shape. Within the Zone, unfamiliar scenes tap from my fingertips and uncooperative characters demand a voice. A fickle wind pushes my plot, requiring vigilance to stay on course. As an adventurer, I’m on my own, trying to make sense of an untold tale before I return to my ordinary life, take a long overdue shower…wash loads of stinky laundry…vacuum blankets of dog hair…make dinner for a gaunt spouse surviving on snack food.

Fortunately, my visits to the Zone are temporary, and I recognize the pattern well enough now that I can plan ahead. “Okay, everybody,” I announce to the family, “I’m going to the Zone for a month. See ya.” My eyes droop and I make a pouty face as if I’m going to miss them, but inside I’m giddy as a new mom with a night out. Party time for me and my laptop!

Here’s a typical conversation when I’ve entered the Zone:

Husband: “Blah blah…dinner…blah blah…oil change…blah blah blah?”—long pause—“I might as well live alone.”

Me: “Hmm, what?”

Sad, but true.

I’m starting to emerge from my most recent jaunt into the Zone. My latest creation, The Rose Shield, feels ready for a little breathing room. I timed my journey well this year, with summer blooming and the weeds in my garden whining for attention. The husband and house require a healthy dose of TLC too that I’ll sate over the next few months…but, oh yes, you guessed it…in preparation for another spree into the Zone come fall. I can’t wait!

84 thoughts on “The Zone

  1. wallacecass says:

    I love this topic because The Zone is one of my favorite places. I know that I am in The Zone when I feel fully immersed in my story world and am experiencing what I am creating with all my senses. It’s not always easy to reach that place, but when you get there, you know it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish I could escape to the zone sometimes 😌

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:
    Ever visited the writer’s Zone? Read this…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erik says:

    This is an exceptional description of your “Zone,” but also an equally stellar testament to your husband, family and friends. It sounds like they are happily willing to allow you to pursue your passions, and that is a rare and wonderful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annika Perry says:

    Welcome back from your ‘Zone’. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your time out writing, your joy in total writing immersion sounds a delight and love the ‘adventurer’ within as the story twists and turns its own way, guiding you. Have a good time back, dish out all that TLC before the next Zone announcement.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. purehaiku says:

    oh to be immersed in the zone totally like that! i have to sneak visits during Mondays and Tuesdays – I can’t spend long there at all due to work and family commitments… I envy you (in a nice way!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t even start writing until later in life because of those commitments. I don’t know how you and others juggle everything. I’m so impressed. Give it time and your sneak visits to the zone will become extended stays 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. …I’ll join you with a season ticket on these journeys into the Zone, m’Lady, Diana:)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. abyssbrain says:

    I understand this quIte well. Before becoming a mathematician, I was a professional magician. In magic, you have to be very creative in coming up with new concepts, plots, and presentation style. So, I would sometimes venture to “The Zone” when I was in a creative mood.

    Even now as a mathematician, when I’m thinking about new theorems or research projects, it’s impossible for anyone to have a normal conversation with me…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. As I read this post I literally began aching. I long to be a writer. I suppose anyone who writes is, but to understand your process and actively pursue a product is something I ache to do. Thank you for sharing this and inspiring the writer in me.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My jaunts are often short as I write flash fiction. But they’re fun nevertheless. . With my memoir, I travel back to the past, sometimes remembering things I’d forgotten. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh, The Zone! My favourite. I admire your creativity. Sadly my forays into the zone are not always so wholesome. Writing has turned out to be a handy excuse for sometimes being a bad listener!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Cecilia says:

    The zone? Where the creative muse resides? Yes, a big Yes!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jaime says:

    I love your writing style! I can completely identify with your trips to the zone. Lately, I can’t seem to get out of the zone, which is good for my writing and my sanity, but not so much for everyone else in my life. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Rosanna says:

    I think I’ve spent some time in the zone although it’s not as exciting and colorful a state for non-fiction writers. My most productive trips to the zone had been eons ago… and the results were two books for children, a stage play that features a dragon, and several stories about a kingdom called Elysian. I was much younger then, less serious with life and loved dragons, princesses and kings….oh my I’m starting to feel old.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Rosanna. I think many artists visit the zone when immersed in their craft. Loving what you do and feeling fulfilled by it is the most important part. Some days I feel old too, but rarely…and, as you know, I occasionally write about dragons and princesses 😀

      Like

    • Erik says:

      Maybe it’s time to return to some of that childlike wonder. I’m famous for saying, “Being childlike doesn’t mean being childish.” Return to Elysia sometimes, rather than simply reminiscing. You’ll find something “wonder-ful” return to your life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rosanna says:

        Oh my Erik, that’s wonderful advise – the best advice so far…:-) After I wrote the comment I dug up the script for the drama musical and remembered all the full capacity shows we had in different parts of our country, the wonderful comments from the parents…then I tucked everything back into the chest where I keep my writing memorabilia. I have considered it a thing of the past, but you’re right, Elysia may still hold something for me…thanks a bundle!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Erik says:

          If you can’t find the motivation to return to Elysian yourself, do it for the rest of us. We can never visit unless you choose to take us there. You are the only portal.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rosanna says:

            Erik, I think somewhere along the way I dropped the key to the portal, you found it, and have handed it back to me. Thank you so much…I will open the portal, revisit Elysian, but this time I think I’ll wave hi to the King, prince and princess, and ride on the dragon’s back, trusting he will take me to more fascinating horizons. And for this I have you to thank!

            Liked by 2 people

  15. Cat says:

    Great way of putting ‘the zone’; a wonderful place, but never long enough!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I go into that zone daily, for a few hours at a time. It’s so damn comfy in there. Cooking usually brings me out for a while…I appreciate that, and we do eat well. ☺ Funny post, thanks D.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Belinda Crane says:

    Loved this Diana! My “zone” sometimes feels like a bit of a crime scene at times! Inappropriate attendance to the “zone” can get me into trouble at times! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I love the Zone… ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  19. The zone! I know the feeling well!! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. It’s refreshing to know that others experience this intensity and urgency to express the stories and ideas that need to flow. Writing is relatively new for me and I wasn’t prepared for the compulsion to write when the “spirit moves me” and to write until it releases its hold, sometimes hours later. You have expressed the feeling and its consequences beautifully here 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’m kind of learning about “the zone” for writing. I used to only have it when I was reading. I hope writing sticks and that it is not just a passing fad for me. I used to crochet, garden, etc., and gave those up after a while….

    Liked by 2 people

  22. hsampson says:

    Thank you!! I loved this post!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Steven Baird says:

    Perfect. Welcome to the zone. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Love this post Diana, so vivid and reads almost like a fairytale 🙂
    Sometimes a writer’s life can seem like a fantasy!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, I know ‘the zone’ well. In fact, I was just in it earlier tonight when I had to stop and make dinner. Thoughts of take-out flooded my brain, but I pushed them aside, left the computer, and made my family a meal. But that doesn’t mean I was happy about it. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

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