How to Enter the Creative “Zone”? -An Analysis on Creative Flow and Hypergraphia

Satyakam Ray

During the creative flow process, the person channelizes all his élan vital to focus on the task on hand and try to perform 100% to get a sense of fulfillment, uninterrupted joy, and the feel of esteemed self-worth.

History suggests that many gifted creative writers and best-seller novelists do a little running to get their optimum creative flow. Many others follow their unique but weird ways to get into their zones. The flow refers to a state where ideas come to the mind spontaneously, and skilled experienced persons in the art try to jot down the bits as soon as possible, not to miss a point during the actual writing. Even many persons wrote their magnum opus directly from the scribbling on the notepad/word file.

Not only writers, but artists, composers, musicians, actors – all the performers need to go into their zones to use all the inner energy, intelligence, sentiments, and evolutionary ideas to create the masterpieces. In this context, it is imperative to know all the nitty-gritty concerning the creative flow, overflow(Hypergraphia), and ways to get into the zone.

Researchers refer to creative flow as a state of effortless attention to complete a task with skilled performance. During the creative flow process, the person channelizes all his élan vital to focus on the task on hand and try to perform 100% to get a sense of fulfillment, uninterrupted joy, and the feel of esteemed self-worth. Any creative writer’s personality, state of mind-happy or gloomy, favorable, or hostile external factors, degree of motivation, and more importantly a calm, relaxed mind affect the flow to a great extent. Physical exercises and an active lifestyle also help to increase the creative flow.

Many persons claim that they get the flow from super-natural beings or in a dream state, which is still debatable and doubtful to some extent, but that is not in the purview of this article.

How did famous writers deal with this?

Dan Brown, the author of books like The da Vinci Code and Inferno, does the Inversion technique- by hanging upside down to beat the writer’s block and get into the grooves. Charles Darwin often visited a path of gravel to gather his thoughts in an organized manner. Eccentric Catalan artist Salvador Dali believed in the afternoon slumber theory to go into the zone. Throughout time, many eminent persons believe in so many weird ways to get going creatively.

In 1969, acclaimed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov proclaimed that he was a compulsive writer. Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll also had the same condition of excessive writing urge, having written over 98,000 letters in various formats throughout his life. The mysterious ever-eluding creative flow, which every aspiring writer wants to get hold of, is miraculously abundant among certain persons. This creative overflow, a medical/psychological condition, is known as Hypergraphia. Writers like Alice Flaherty use Hypergraphia to write extensive papers and books.

Nitty-gritty of Hypergraphia

In psychology, Hypergraphia can be considered as a behavioral condition characterized by the intense desire to write or draw. The writing style and content can vary from person to person.

The patients suffering from Hypergraphia tend to keep diaries-often meticulous minute details of their everyday activities, write poetry, create lists, draw pictures of the places they used to live at earlier ages, write lyrics of a song heard many years before, and publish innovative stories showcasing their creative ability.

There are many accounts of patients writing in nonsensical patterns including writing in a center-seeking spiral starting around the edges of a piece of paper. Even a patient wrote backward so that the writing could only be interpreted with the help of a mirror. Some recorded their dreams in extreme length and detail. Scribbling down random thoughts on a piece of paper in an ungrammatical way is a sure sign of Hypergraphia.

Science behind Hypergraphia

Hypergraphia is a symptom associated with temporal changes in epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy may influence front temporal connections in such a way that the drive to write is increased in the frontal lobe, beginning with the prefrontal and premotor cortex planning out what to write, and then leading to the motor cortex (located next to the central fissure) executing the physical movement of writing. Functional MRI scans of various studies suggest that this rhyming behavior is produced in the right hemisphere. //info- credit Wikipedia.

“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” -Bruce Garrabrandt

The analogy to the real world

Whether it is the creative flow or creative over-flow (Hypergraphia) when the flow occurs one needs to jot down the ideas as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will lead to overbearing mental trauma for some writers. The ideas need to be released to the outside world, and once it goes public, the level of relief is unparalleled. The self-satisfaction, joy, and happiness upon releasing beautiful content in the form of a short story, article, poem, or long novel are unique. It can be compared with various small joys life can offer to us such as:

  • Getting the first salary
  • The graduation day ceremony
  • Getting a Yes for Date/Prom
  • Enjoying the first rain on the roof or smelling the grass after the first rain
  • Listening that you have passed a paper that you have not studied at all (only engineering guys can correlate)

Suggestions/Tips to enter the Zone

To start unleashing the creative juice wildly, here goes some of the proven and some new innovative techniques to enter the mysterious bliss of the creative zone.

  • Listening to favorite song track/album/artist
  • Doing physical exercises like running, swimming or walking
  • Marathon coding or doing integral calculus
  • Reading 2-3 books at one go
  • Sitting in solitude on the balcony
  • Roaming around in the woods or visiting a nearby natural park
  • Watching sunrise or sunset
  • Doing Meditation or yoga
  • Counting stars in the midnight sky
  • Talking to a close person or confidant

Any budding writer/columnist/avid reader can try at least any mentioned techniques to get into the groove.

Leave a Reply