Here is the raw 14″x11″x11″ block of basswood glued up and ready to be transformed into Jack Roosevelt Robinson’s head. We’re already a few hours past this point in reality. The rough out went faster than ever, thanks to new tools I purchased but the detail work is crawling. Just crawling. I’m having the “yips” about getting into the actual do-or-else stuff. I haven’t done this kind of work in a year now and I’m low on confidenct and have found that when I get home from work and only have a few hours to play with, that I fritter away that time as a way to avoid getting into it.
This happens in the sculpting business. You have to punch through, even if it means sitting there for hours and not doing much more than looking at photos and being scared to remove wood. At some point, you will spot “easy” wood to remove and by doing that, you will be drawn in and eventually, you will get into the “zone”.
“The zone” is that hackneyed phrase that is used mostly in sports and sometimes in music. It can be applied to any task, in my opinion. It is, to me, that point where your brain stops processing “noise”. Noise is anything not central to the task. Once you stop processing noise (tired, time to do something else, worrying about x, hungry, what’s on tv), you get focused on the task or piece and instead of working on it with really only partial attention, you bring more of your abilities to bear on the task. This feeds a loop in that, once this happens, results will quickly flow; results at a much faster rate than you are lately accustomed to. Once that happens, you are going to be excited by the progress and that feeds your attention lock and stengthens it, leading to more and more positive results as measured against time.
Once you see the effect of this, the things that were creeping into your thoughts and distracting you begin to melt away. You are less and less interested in them. It gets to the point where even if you work very late and might ordinarialy be concerned that you will be tired for work the next day, in this case, you won’t care. You will lose most of your concer with, and thoughts about, time. You know you’re in the sweet spot and are enjoying that and thinking about time will only hinder you, so out it goes. Now, you’re in “The Zone”. You get a lot done. You’re excited about it. Your confidence soars and as a result, sticky problems are toppling one after the other, as you plow through the project. It’s a great feeling. It’s an energizing feeling. It can spill over into other areas of your life.
Trouble is, getting in there the first time.