The Zone

What is this mystical “Zone” that you hear people talk about? Most of the time, the talk revolves around an athlete doing incredibly athletic things. Michael Jorden scoring 60 points in a game. Berry Sanders rushed for a touchdown when he was surrounded by 10 players from the opposing team. Nolen Ryan throwing 7 no-hitters.

They where in the “Zone.”

The “Zone”, to me, is a place that transcends physical form. The “Zone” is a place, a realm, an alternate universe where your mind exists on another level. In sporting terms, your mind sees your opponent and everything around him, forms a plan on how to defeat this opponent, and with perfect clarity, in a millisecond you do these impossible moves to defeat your opponent. You may not know who Berry Sanders is, but the man did things on a football field that no one has ever done before or after he retired from football. If you don’t believe me, YouTube him and see for yourself.

What do I know about the “Zone”? I played football, baseball, and basketball and wrestled in high school and college. I mountain biked and hiked after college. Well, I played football in college, those other sports would have just been too much for one man to handle, but I digress. I have experienced this “Zone” on several occasions while playing sports. It’s a strange and wonderful place to get to. I experienced it mostly when I use to play football or mountain bike. My mind was beyond focused. My mind was beyond clear in its goals. I saw, felt, and experienced everything happening around me, every player, every rock, every single breath that happened, I felt it and reacted to it before anyone else could.

I was Michael Jorden for a moment in time. I was a GOD! (Yes, a little grandiose, but it’s my blog and I can be as grandiose as I want to be.)

I know that you’re saying, “Okay, great ya jock boy, what the hell does this have to do with writing?”

There are times when I’m writing, I see a scene in my head with such clarity that I’m actually living the scene in real-time. (In my head of course) When I sit and write, I usually have a general idea of what I want to write about and then kind of make it up as I go. These scenes are mostly filler scenes between main events or inciting events. The main scenes in my head are when I can slip into the “Zone”.

The “Zone” is a place where I can write for hours at a time and not realize it. My vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch senses are all caught up in this single act of writing. It becomes a singularity in my writing universe. Again, it is a strange place to be caught inside of.

I could imagine that if someone were to film me during one of these episodes, I would look like a man just staring at a computer typing his ass off. It would look strange, the faraway, unfocused look in my eyes. I would probably freak myself out just looking at myself during these times of being in the “Zone”. When I talked to my writing friends about this phenomenon, they tell me about their own examples of being in the “Zone” too.

The “Zone” is a real and unreal place all at the same time, kind of like Schrodinger’s Cats, only I’m alive and not in a box. The thing is, when you’re in the “Zone”, you don’t realize it until you come out of the “Zone.” It must be like walking around a dark room and then seeing light.

When I come out of the “Zone”, it takes me a while to bring myself back to reality. I am not in a cave speaking to an awesomely cool tiger. I am not in a canyon fighting off demons. I am not in front of four gods taking a trail that means life or death. These are all scenes from my first book that I can recall being in the “Zone” when I wrote them.

I go back and read these scenes and am amazed, I think, “Holy crap, I wrote this!” (but not in a bad way) I do not remember writing the scenes, I just remember moving my hands to write what I saw in my head.

I was in the “Zone”

Thank you for reading,

J.W. Berwyn

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