Finding the Zone

If you talk to any hard core athlete, you’ll likely hear them talk about getting into the zone. That sweet spot when the pain melts away, the mind clears and it’s just your mind and body operating in perfect harmony.

I’m not hard core athlete but I’ve spent the last 18 months working hard at the gym. It’s not often that I find the sweet spot but occasionally, around mile two on the elliptical, my body stops hurting and my mind can focus on something besides how much my knees hurt or how my lungs are trying to crawl up my throat. But getting to mile two is a fight. I’m fighting my brain that tells me I can’t do this. I’m fighting my body that tells me I shouldn’t be doing this.

Writing is very similar for me. The first hundred words are the hard as I search for the rhythm of the writing. I could be doing something productive. Laundry. Dishes. Watching dinner defrost. The next few hundred words are even harder because I’ve started something and I don’t want to stop but I’m feeling the pain. And. It. Hurts. But I’ve gotten this far.

If I can get past that hurdle, much like mile one on the elliptical, miles two through six are easier. Or as easy as another five miles get on the elliptical. Somewhere around word five hundred my brain lets go of planning what I’m going to write, and just writing.

Whether it’s adrenaline or endorphins or just plain stubbornness my brain stops fighting my creativity and gives over control to it. A picture evolves in my head and my fingers capture it. The process is seamless at times.

I wish there was a shortcut to get to the seamless part, but like mile two, you have to endure mile one first.

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