Being in my comfort zone means surrounding myself with things that represent me or make me feel good. Here are some examples:
A summary I guess could be that I like things that make me look at things in a new way.
Kelly answered my questions “What item do you own that it very ‘you’? What about your writing is uniquely ‘you’?”:
Item: An orange Dakota watch that clips/hangs on my belt loop. It needs a battery. That is also very me. That you’ve never seen it gives an indication of how long it has needed a battery.
My writing: Almost everything I’ve written so far is concept-oriented. I’m always sneaking in things for kids to learn … I can’t seem to help it.
Kelly is one of my critique partners, so I know her pretty well. And she’s right about her writing. But, as I said in reply to her comment on the last post, what she doesn’t say is that she manages to fit content into even her fiction without it feeling heavy. Kelly’s skill of sneaking in content is amazing, but it isn’t very me. And that’s good. That’s her thing.
My writing trademarks are more “me.” My picture books usually have:
first person point of view (I as opposed to he or she)
a twisted or ironic ending
spare text reliant on illustrations
an irreverent topic or attitude
My longer stuff usually has:
lots of humor
a well-developed main character
a lot of dialogue
body language description as part of characterization
made-up words (see the post Etymology)
That is my writing comfort zone.
Sometimes my comfort zone isn’t as comfortable. Right now I’m revising two books in my chapter book (that may become middle grade) series. And it is HARD. Despite feeling stretched, which is a good thing, I feel like I need a break to let the dust settle before pushing on. But since I’m just getting in the groove with a new writing schedule (more on that next week), I don’t want to take time off. So what do I do?
I think this is a good time to step outside my writing comfort zone. To a new subgenre even. I’m thinking of writing a children’s mystery.
I’m excited. And terrified. I’ve never written a mystery before.
But I guess the best thing about my comfort zone is that I define it. That means I can expand it at any time. If I start to write a mystery and decide to stick with it, mysteries become part of my comfort zone, just like writing picture books or humorous chapter books once did. And if not, that’s okay too. At least I stepped outside. A little fresh air is good for me.
More on Comfort Zone:
7 ways to start writing outside your comfort zone: http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/06/step-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-become-a-better-writer/
Kenneth Mark Hoover, a SF and dark fantasy author’s, blog about trying something outside his comfort zone: http://kennethmarkhoover.me/2011/11/08/the-challenge-of-writing-outside-your-comfort-zone/
A post about writing outside of your comfort zone: http://writinginshadows.com/2012/10/27/writing-outside-of-your-comfort-zone/