Friday, November 2, 2012
Dear Comfort Zone
Dear Comfort Zone,
You are our big, soft, squishy teddy bear that keep us feeling safe and secure. It's no wonder that people want to cling on to you and resist any outlying areas. It is so much easier to stay put in a well-lighted, familiar place than dark and unexplored territory.
I am a creature of habit. I like routines and schedules. I order the same dishes at respective restaurants. I thrive on familiarity. Similarly, I don't like unexpected happenings, unplanned events, or any big surprises. Nicely put, I like things the just the way I like them. Not-so-nicely-put, I am an inflexible, stubborn old croak who can't always enjoy many spurt-of-the-moment delights.
Which is why I am easily anxious about anything and everything. What you may not know is all the anxiety that came with this entire blog--yes, this one that you have been reading. I first started this blog because I felt a very strong urge to write, to express thoughts longer than a Facebook status update, and to hopefully reach peeps who could tell me, "you are not alone."
I did not tell anyone about this blog initially, and I had a very hard time sharing it even after I got into a routine. I feared Murphy's Law: that as soon as I would tell someone about it, I would lose the ability to keep coming up with topics to write and things to discuss. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my writing shoes and begin to share my blog. Even then, each time I finished a post, I still questioned: "Is this good enough?" The anxiety that came with publishing each post was undeniably overwhelming and hard to shake off.
This summer, I joined an online writers group, Studio30 Plus. I felt that it would be helpful to join a community to read other writers' work and learn more about the craft. The community staff then approached me to be a Featured Writer and submit a piece to the community blog. Like a turtle fearing danger, I tucked my head into my shell faster than you can say "no." I kindly took a rain check. But when I was asked a second time, I knew it was time to face that challenge. The topic could be anything related to writing, blogging, or publishing, and I thought: what better topic is there to tackle than my own blogging anxiety!?
So I wrote Blogging Anxiety 101. (Go ahead, click on that link to read it, please.)
I turned my blogging anxiety into a set of constructive advice for anyone hesitant to blog, write, or share thoughts with the public. Way out of my comfort zone.
I consider myself an expert in very few areas, and I have never written anything like this before. So not only did I step out of my comfort zone to write and publish something for "new eyes," I also wrote about a topic like I know something about it.
Well, it turns out that I did know something about it. And it was "good enough" for me to "publish." I know that I would have never written this piece if I had not opted to go outside of my comfort zone and tried it. It was a challenge for me, and one that produced something that gave me more confidence as a writer and made me someone who can give some decent advice.
Huh. Who'd have ever known.
(If you clicked over to read it, thank you! You must be a community member in order to comment at S30P, so if you're inclined to leave a comment, please do so here.)
So, Dear Comfort Zone, I have come to a deeper understanding--as a writer--of how nurturing you can be. Children hang on to their lovies for the very same reason--comfort and security. But if there's ever a reason to walk beyond the familiar, it would be to stretch, reach, and learn. It can't hurt every once in a while. Plus, it makes me able to use the term "pleasantly surprised" more often, much needed by my Old Inflexible Muscles.
So who's in for some stretching with me?
P.S. In related news, I am participating in #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), which is a challenge to write a blog post every single day in the month of November. I will not be posting them here, but on my other blog at Promptly I Write. This is partly in effort to do more creative writing, partly to lessen blogging anxiety for myself (as I will have far less time to scrutinize over each and every post), and partly because I'm a little crazy. Join me? Click on the badge below for more information.