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Out of the comfort zone -- by Sigrun Erna Geirsdottir

How often have you heard that you should write often and try your hand at different things? Many times, I'm guessing, more often than you can count. And you know what? It's true.

I find myself in the somewhat enviable position that I write for a living. As a journalist I am either interviewing people, writing up articles or researching all day long. And it helps with my novel writing, no doubt about it.

It's not only beneficial though. When I return home after work I find myself strangely reluctant to sit down again and keep on writing, even though I would go on to write something very different.

The benefit is, of course, that it does benefit my writing (when I do make and effort and actually write something in my novel!), it becomes smoother and the rhythm is better. It doesn‘t help with everything though, my writing is oddly separated, one craft to another. I never find myself tempted, for example, to put something poetic into my news articles and I actually shudder when I contemplate putting something like:

When I ask him what made him want to become a sailor he gives a small laugh and shrugs.

I actually shudder with horror. I realize that some journalists get away with descriptive interviews and colourful articles but they‘re few and far between. In the same way I steer clearly away from dry language in creative writing, or at least, I try to.

I have written poetry as well (although it‘s been quite a long time since I last did it!) and I have found that being able to write poetry can truly benefit me; when I want to I can write a text that is quite literary and very different from the fantasy novels I write mostly these days.

Most people want to stick to something they know or have grown familiar with and I‘m no different. I do know from personal experience though that we should reach outside our comfort zone and try to write something different than what we‘re used to. I‘ve thought about writing a children‘s story for example, though I have always caved out when it actually comes to putting words on paper. Still, I think I will do it one day and it will be good for me as a writer and help me develop my craft even further. It is immensely helpful to force yourself to take a different view on things, to try a totally different style, to get to know situations and problems that don’t usually pop up in your writing. Actually, it’s healthy for everyone, not only writers, to break out of their comfort zones regularly. We are meant to expand our horizons, to develop and grow. If we remain too long in the same place, doing the same things we become stagnant. I think this is in fact often the problem when writers face that horrible block that all of us are afraid of.

This blog post is me breaking out of my comfort zone, I have never blogged in English before and in fact I have only three blog posts to my name in Icelandic. I worried! What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m the most horrible blogger the site has ever seen? But the thing is, we can’t let these doubts stop us. Because if we do are treading our potential and stifling our growth.

So. How about it? How about trying to write something very different from what you’re used to writing? You won’t regret it.

P.S Ok, so it wasn’t only doubts that kept me from writing this blog post I am also lazy. There. I’ve said it. It’s this laziness that’s stopping me from writing diligently in my novel but that’s a subject for another blog post.

P.P.S I didn’t just promise I would write another blog post for CC, did I?


Posted by Sigrun Erna Geirsdottir 3 Feb 2014 at 00:48
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Responses to this blog

Card 4 Feb 2014 at 20:35  
Good point, Sigrun! Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary as hell, depending on how far you go, but the truth is that if you practice the new stuff and enjoy it, then you end up with a new comfort zone that you can choose to spend your time in. Speaking of, I just wrote, today, the beginning of a story in 1st person. Not something I'm accustomed to, but I'm already fascinated seeing the direction my narrative went in with a simple POV choice.
Knittinjen 5 Feb 2014 at 02:11  
You are not the worst blogger ever! Thanks for sharing. In English.
Fairchild 6 Feb 2014 at 15:27  
Good post. I keep wanting to try poetry—you know, the kind that doesn't really rhyme. I oughta look up how to get started. Thanks for sharing.
Sigrun (administrator) 9 Feb 2014 at 00:27  
Thanks actually started writing poetry, the rhythmic kind, then the unrythmic, then short stories and finally, fantasy novels. I sometimes find myself tempted to write poetry again but when it comes to actualization of that thinking I come up empty. I've thought about adding erotic scenes to my latest story. I've thought the story through from beginning to pretty well the end and give several times over particular scenes and entire dialogs. But when I start to write these erotic scenes they all suffer from stillbirth?I guess that's a line in my comfort zone I'm not ready to cross yet I do believe though that we have to make them bigger all the time, if we want to grow at writers.
Juliparker 11 Feb 2014 at 03:30  
Good post! I write mostly fantasy, but I have a slew of main stream, contemporary pieces I want to write eventually, after I finish my first novel!
Jovian6691 18 Feb 2014 at 01:33  
If English is not your first language, you have a much better grasp of it than many I know for whom it is their only language. It was a great blog, although I have not read many. I too am a little lazy (If a parsec is a short distance). OK...Lazy writers unite....send us your excuses. (maybe a topic for a new thread in the Procrastinator's Lounge):

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