The Challenge of Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

I have always believed the best stories and the best writers are those that operate outside a comfort zone.

Don’t get me wrong. I like easy-to-read and quick stories sometimes. But when I first envisioned this novel I instinctively knew it would A.) Be hard to write, and B.) Be challenging to write because it was outside my comfort zone.

I am not interested in playing it safe with this novel. I have written safe stories. I have read more than my share of safe stories. I won’t go into detail what exactly I want to accomplish with this book because I’ve mentioned it before. But for me it’s a big thing. Well, every story is, to be honest. But especially this one because I don’t think the story itself can work if it’s not somewhat dangerous.

So with this in mind one of the hurdles I keep coming across is forcing myself to think in a very different way when working on this novel. By instinct I keep holding back. I have to push myself past that barrier. I have to shred it and move on. I find that difficult because it’s almost like I am trying to elevate the story beyond what I may have the talent for.

In another words, I am not sure I have the talent to do this thing correctly. But I want to try. I don’t like to fail. If failure was an option I would never have been published in the first place, become a member of SFWA and HWA, or even finished a story. I have passed those hurdles. This is a new hurdle.

I believe in myself. I believe I can do this. No one will be more surprised than I if I fail on this project. And that more than anything else is what I like about this current project. It’s a real challenge. I am calling upon all my talent and knowledge to find a way through this story.

It’s literally like nothing else I have ever written or done or thought about. That’s awfully cool. As a writer I can tell you that is awfully, awfully cool. πŸ™‚

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10 Comments

  1. You can do it!

    Reply
  2. Take the word fail out of your vocabulary and continue! Concentrate on the success and not on the possible failure. If this blog is any indication, your writing is worth reading πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this great post! I agree with you on all counts. It is difficult sometimes to write outside the comfort zone, but I believe that the stories that derive from writing more on the edge are grittier, more compelling, and have the power to resonant longer with readers. Like you, I am challenging myself to push more on my writing a bit and move beyond the comfort zone. Some days it wors, other days it feels like a protracted battle with a hydra. You’ve made great progress; I hope to one day meet the criteria to become an HWA member. Keep writing and pushing forward with your novel!

    Reply
  4. May the light beyond the borders of your comfort zone shine straight within your writing “heart”, but may it be a gentle light!

    Reply
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