By Bruno Costa
Bruno Costa is Spiralist, whose debut full length album 'Nihilus' was recently released through Microfome.
When something awakens inside of you and all of your thoughts and instincts point to an artistic path, you equally awaken dissentful voices from the outside. Even those which fail to realize they are, like the concerned parent or the baffled high school teacher (not to even mention those who just want to see you fail and quit, and believe me, the world has got them aplenty). But those who worry genuinely do it for a single reason: career stability.
I've struggled with this for the past few years, and for a while I let my fear and "serious responsibility" towards my dayjobs (that's right, four of them) keep me from creating freely. I'd pile up meneal tasks to do on my agenda and kept delaying my artistic work. Until I realized how miserable it was making me.
To be "In the Zone", as I like to call it, is to be in that artistic trance where great ideas flow one after another and seem to link effortlessly. It's an amazing state to be in, one you can only understand by experiencing it. But it is also a very hard state to reach. To be "In the Zone" requires commitment to the act of creating without worrying about the outside world. And creating the conditions to do that can be difficult.
There is a video on Youtube I adore called "How To Be Creative: How an Artist Turns Pro" (link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lTcgSzf0AQ) which explains how being "Pro" is not necessarily about making money off of your art (though that's always desirable) but to set yourself a daily goal and engage in creation without excuses. This doesn't mean you have to quit your job, especially if your livelihood and family currently depend upon it, but it means that you need to still find the time and energy to do what really makes you happy.
The way I do it, for instance, is by going to bed earlier than I used to, then waking up early in the morning, meditate and start writing (it could just be brainstorming, or a poem, or a song with my guitar or synth, etc.). Then I need to have something finished every day, and that's up for me to decide. If I'm not able to finish it in the morning, I can use the post-meditation brainstorming (fresh ideas are often the best ideas) to fuel my lunch break writing, whether I'm able to be at home or I have to be at a staff room where I work. It's also important to avoid distractions. That means no Youtube videos, no chores, no sudden dayjob requirements that you can do during your work hours, nothing. When you are working on your art, you want to put all of your energy and focus into it. And you need to follow the vision you have in your mind's eye without compromising. So then, after a while creating and developing your ideas, you might find yourself "In the Zone": if you do, don't overthink it, don't question it, and just let yourself go along with your intuition. Create, create and create and when you are back down from the "Zone", you'll know, and that's ok. There's no mysticism to this either, it's just a matter of having your brain activity so engaged that your work flows much better than usual. There are other things you can do, like exercising or having a healthier diet (something I've adopted as well), which can clean things up for you.
My point here is that sometimes, more so than our circumstances, we can be our own worst enemies. And we become so embroiled in the woes of a working class existence that we bow our heads and go on working for someone else with fear of getting squashed under their feet. I cannot bear living like that, and if you are involved with art, I doubt that you do either. So find your way into your own "Zone" and create limitlessly.