Thursday, October 5, 2017

Step Out of Your Writing Comfort Zone

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Add life to your writing
by stepping out of your comfort zone!
As a whole, writers consistently struggle with self-confidence. Part of that comes, I believe, from working alone. Another contributing issue is the fact that writing is creating. We bring something tangible out of nothing and it carries our creative DNA. Both of these factors make it hard for us to have accurate perspective, so we err on the side of negativity. We tend to think less of our writing—and our abilities—than we ought. 

Hand in hand with this comes our unwillingness to leave our comfort zones. We’ve each built a safe place, populated it with safe people, and do only safe things there. But as comfortable as we are, this gated community can prove to be  stifling to our creativity.
We’ve got to find ways to break free from comfortable and embrace the new and terrifying.
Why & How to Step Out of Our Writing Comfort Zone
1. Trying new things—hard things—will stretch us and grow us as writers. Even if we choose not to continue with what we’ve tried, that experience will add to our abilities.
2. Leaving our comfort zone gives us a new perspective. When we only view something—writing—from one vantage point, we deny ourselves. For example, writing fiction, after years of writing nonfiction, can add depth and life to both endeavors.
3. We need to change locals to meet new people. Maybe you only write at home, or have a single critique partner. Move location, write in a coffee shop or library. Exchange your writing with someone new to get a different type of input.
4. Write in a different genre. If you write fiction, try your hand at article writing. If you write articles, give poetry a whirl. Wherever you are, try something different.
5. Visit a new group or conference. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and only attend the same group or go to the same conference every year. Instead, be brave. Strike out on your own and visit a new group.
6. Enter a contest or sign up for a critique. It’s important to keep our writing fresh and current. Competing and asking for feedback is a perfect way to do that.
7. Try a writing prompt. There are a lot of books out there with writing prompts, but you can also just to an internet search. Set a timer and let creativity take over.
8. Take part in a write-off. This is a timed writing event. You can challenge another writer, or meet together as a group. The goal is to see who can write the most words in a set time-frame. Pushing yourself with a word-count goal will help turn off your internal editor. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it the fact that you tried that brings the benefit.
9. Ditch the computer and write long-hand. I know, we’re in the twenty-first century, but there’s something ultimately creative by touching pen to paper. You might be surprised how enjoyable it is sometimes. And if you’re one of those who does write everything long-hand, you should give computer technology a try. Not because either is better, but because different leads to discovery.
These are my suggestions. Now it’s your turn to add to the list. What have you done to break out of the writing comfort zone? How has it worked?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

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