Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Outside The Comfort Zone

It's so easy to repeat things -- stick with what one is used to. Visit the same restaurants, order the same food, take the same path to work, sit in the same chair or spot on the sofa.  We are, I think, creatures of habit, even the most spontaneous and adventurous of us.

Mixing in new things -- foods, venues, habits, goals, seems so important therefore to keep our brains from settling into ruts. Even enjoyable things can be ruts.

Trying to take some different tactics with my writing -- where I am while I do it. What approach I take to tackling the blank page. Pushing the limits of what I am comfortable with writing -- I tell people all the time that their best writing will feel vaguely uncomfortable to them because it is pushing their limits. Trying to put that into practice myself.

What are your writing ruts? I mean comfort zones?  How to you pull yourself away from them?

Love and words,



  1. I tend to get most of my writing juices flowing at coffee shops or all-night diners where I can turn off the Internet and just focus on my words. Somehow the crowds of people around me give me a kind of frenetic energy that I pull from their very existence.

    I can sometimes write at home, but I never seem to be able to force myself to turn off the Internet on my laptop. Constant inbound emails and updates from Facebook barrage my writing time, and the next thing I know my writing time has evaporated into a puff of wasted energy.

    To break out of my comfort zones, I'll sometimes find a different public place (usually a park) and find an uncomfortable log or rock or ledge or park bench to sit on and write. I know that I'll be fine for sitting there an hour, but no more. This forces me to "race against the clock" of my ass going numb from the rough seat. I get an amazing amount done in that brief period of time.

  2. I do most of my writing when all is quiet. I prefer to be by myself, either in my kitchen or up in the office. This past week, my family and I took a vacation. The writitng time was almost non-existant. Hoping to be a lot more productive this week!

  3. Um, I'm not sure if this applies, but here goes: My comfort zone is fiction. I write some fiction that is directly affected by my life experiences, but I love to really dive into my own personal unknown and go there. I am uncomfortable in personal non-fiction. But I have to go there. My blog is even hard, hard, hard and sometimes, well, not very good. I'm too close to my own life to tell it in an interesting way. And proofreading. OI!
    I used to write a blog about management, I need to get back to it, but I hated the "voice." It's hard for me, non fiction.
    That's my rut.

  4. My comfort zone is short stories. I like the limited canvas. Focus on plot and a great story while cutting out all the fat. As I make the transition to novels, I find myself intimidated by the vast amount of blank pages. I know I can fill them, will fill them... they are less daunting the more I write. As I try new genres, this also helps my ability to fill space as I learn new approaches. The descriptiveness of fantasy versus the story driven suspense.

  5. I think our best writing can come from working in areas that are clearly outside the comfort zone -- like Jason, I am most comfortable with short fiction, but as I have continued plugging away at novel-length, I am coming to understand the form, to be able to see it in my mind organically, whereas for a long time the novel form was sort of a black box -- it exists, I know it, but it has been bewildering to me as to how I personally can approach it. Guess I got inside the black box....a little anyway.

  6. I love writing in the morning...not early mind you, I love my sleep more, but after the kids are off to school and when I'm on my second cup of coffee. My 'comfort zone' is most likely what I write. Single title romance. I think with my crazy brain I'd be good at horror, but I don't want to live that everyday. That's what I love about romance. My days are filled with happy ever afters.

  7. Like Kristi, my writing comfort zone is when I'm alone and everything's silent. This week a bunch of people are staying at my house, so I'm trying to push myself to work even when there's no silence/alone time to be had. I'm also very motivated by deadlines and stress, so I'm one of thse people who practically exults in being hours away from a deadline

  8. My comfort zone is blogs and news articles... the fiction is my nemesis. But when I work on it, I just love it ... my story, my characters, developing the scene and truly being right there with everyone. Totally awesome!