June 25th, 2009
Comfort Zones

First off, I’d like to apologize to the winners of RED and SCARLET’s ARC. I WILL get the books in the mail tomorrow. I’m truly sorry for taking so long. 😳

Now onto today’s topic. I’m talking about two different types of comfort zones today, personal and writing. When I was a flight attendant, I had a fairly large comfort zone. You had to have in order to do that job. You were constantly having to deal with various types of personalities. I got used to it. At the time, I was good at my job. Then 9-11 hit and my job changed…and so did I. My comfort zone shrunk so quickly and dramatically that I could barely get on a plane without having an anxiety attack. I quit five months later. (That was part of the reason I wrote my Blaze, OFF LIMITS and set it on a plane.) Sometimes I think quitting so soon after the attack had a major impact on the size of my comfort zone these days. I can’t say if I went back and had it all to do over again I would change things. I’m not sure that I would. That decision came after a major epiphany. What I hadn’t anticipated was the comfort zone shrinkage and how many areas of my life it would effect. I’m working on ‘expanding’ my comfort zone. It’s currently too small to accommodate the life I want to live. I’m determined to shock it if need be.

The same goes for writing. When a writer starts out, they tend to stick with the familiar. This is especially true once they get published and find out how hard it is to stay published. There’s wisdom in ‘sticking with a sure thing’, but only if you remember there are NO sure things in life. 😉 We all know writers who don’t venture out of their ‘comfort zones’ for fear they’ll be smacked down. In this economy especially it doesn’t pay to be adventurous. Yet, part of me wonders if now isn’t the time to take a chance. Truly leave the comfort zones we’ve created. Try something new. Take a leap of faith.

What do you all think? Should comfort zones be stretched? Demolished? Or should everyone play it safe?

10 comments to “Comfort Zones”

  1. I think it’s good to expand the comfort zone, but not abandon it because it serves a purpose. It takes a level of security to create something.

    Expanding one’s comfort zone may mean outgrowing a situation or leaving it behind, and that can feel risky. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Just that you have to find enough sense of security to do it.

    I know that I never wanted to write the same book over and over. What would be the point?

  2. Have you been reading my mind? Or my super-private journal. 😉

    I am thinking of this very thing! I’ve been mulling it over for the past few days, actually… I have a new idea for a book that is VERY different from anything I’ve done before. It’s the London book, but the central idea is… far, far away from the stuff I’ve already written.

    Maybe it’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone?

  3. I too need to step out of my comfort zone. I used to wild and reckless and was up for anything and everything at any give time.

    But since having a child, my comfort zone is non-existent. Just about everything feels uncomfortable now. I’ve stretched it out a bit in the past five years, with going to conferences, joing my chapter, becoming president of said chapter. I joined a gym, I might even take a dance class next year.

    I want to stretch and grow as well. The same in my writing. I’m expanding big time, into all different genres. I figure I should try.

  4. Charli, I think it’s really easy for a comfort zone to go from protective to a prison. And right now, all I see are bars. 🙁

  5. Karen, Well, I wasn’t going to tell you that while I was in London I might have… *ggg*

    I think you should attack that book that’s calling to you. You have NOTHING to lose.

  6. Vivi, That’s me…well, all but the child. I’m going to take steps to stretch my zone out because it’s strangling me.

  7. If you mean trying a different genre or point of view because you’ve explored all the expression in what you’re doing, I’m all for it. If you mean writing in a different voice or creating avant-garde characters you normally detest in order to expand your horizon artistically… then I’d take a pass. 🙂

  8. Bernard, I’m not sure I’d know how to do that last part. *ggg*

  9. I don’t know that comfort zones should be demolished, but they should definitely be stretched. Just imagine what our world would be like if people had never left their comfort zones. It would be much smaller and there would never have been ocean crossing journeys to “discover” the American continents. I think the only way to continue to grow is to stretch our comfort zones. Sadly, doing so is difficult for me, but I am working on it.

  10. Karin, It would’ve definitely changed the face of the world. I think it’s difficult for a lot of people.