Diane is here today to urge all of us to step out of our comfort zone as writers. And if there's anyone who can get us to do that, it's Spunk on a Stick.
Welcome, L. Diane Wolfe.
Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone
New writers often hear, “Write what you know.” That’s good advice when just starting. Writing about familiar subjects provides confidence so we can focus on our writing skills.
However, if we want to develop, we need to stretch a little. Writing is all about growth. When we break away from predictable, we discover new things about ourselves. We prevent our readers and fans from growing bored. We provide our careers with a little longevity. Therefore, it’s essential we escape our comfort zone and enter unchartered territory.
By changing one or more of these aspects, we’ll stretch our writing muscles:
• Subject matter or genre. Writing outside of our niche induces growth. We grow complacent writing about the same topic over and over again. Consider tackling a new genre. Mastered mystery? Try an urban fantasy. Content with romances? Attempt a horror story. Tech writer? Move into motivational work. For the ultimate challenge, move between fiction and non-fiction.
• Characters. Often we begin with characters similar in feel to ourselves. However, what happens when we create someone who possesses different traits and views? It forces us to see the world in a whole new light. It helps us to create diversity in characters. Book V of my series forced me to stretch in this manner, as Heather was my polar opposite. She kicked my butt throughout the entire process, too! The story was stronger because of that fact, though, and I am now eager to tackle another difficult character.
• Setting. A location we know intimately provides accuracy and security, but unless ‘world traveler’ is on our resume, we’ll find ourselves stuck in the same setting. What happens if we move from the city to the country? Or to the beach? Or to another world? Setting applies to our character’s profession as well. Instead of a lawyer, what happens if we focus on a stock car driver? Or a foreign tour guide? Changing the setting ensures research, but we will learn so much in the process - and the freshness of our ideas will come across in our writing.
• Conflicts. These can grow stale and formula. Break out of the pattern and brew up some new struggles. Our resources are unlimited, too. There’s no end to life’s problems! The daily news can provide ideas for new conflicts, challenges, and sticky scenarios. Remember, fact is always stranger than fiction - we’ll discover new issues and concepts if we look.
• Storyline. This is a big one! Often we find out storylines contain similar themes. Boy meets girl. Someone is murdered. Evil plans to take over world. We can easily fall into a rut. Consider a new path. Brainstorm some fresh ideas. We always need new twists and turns, but deviating from our normal storyline or plot forces us to mature as writers. We prove we are not just one trick ponies!
Now that we know what to change, it’s time to stretch!
And in doing so, we will probably discover our best work is produced outside of our comfort zone.
Sounds doable to me. Who knew stretching was good for your writing and your body!
You can find out about Diane as an author and a speaker by visiting her sites:
You can also buy her books on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble or at Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.
But, right now, what you can do is ask her a question, comment on her post, or give us your own experiences with stepping out of your comfort zone.