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?

Sincerely,
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.

NaBloPoMo November 2012


14 comments:

  1. Look at all the reaching and growing and learning going on up in here. Underneath the anxiety (or surrounding it maybe) this must feel really good. It reminds me of our initial conversation. Go you!

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! It really, really does feel good. I surprised myself. And that #NaBloPoMo? It's already helping me with my perfection issues. I simply don't have time to fret over the posts like I used to. I just have to crank them out and GO. I know I'm crazy, but there is definitely a reason why I'm being crazy. :) Thank you so much for your support--I appreciate your words more than you know.

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  2. Sometimes I read your posts and think that you are in my head! I have similar anxiety and there are so many things I don't ever write, because I am worried they aren't good enough!

    And your article on S30P is great; I will try to remember your tips when I'm at home looking for reasons not to post because I'm scared.

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    1. Thank you, Rachel. That you can relate to me makes ME feel much less alone; we're in this together! What I've realized over the past year of blogging/writing is that the words "good enough" evolved. The phrase changed from "good enough for others" to "good enough for myself." Once I realized that it's really for myself, it was easier to let go of that fear. I'm not out of the woods, and probably will never be because of my personality, but I just don't want it to stop me from writing. Thanks for reading my S30P article--it really means a lot to me!

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  3. What an adorable photo of DS embracing that HUGE bear! You are right. We love our comfort zones. Glad you were able to brave-up and accept the writing challenge. Have fun with NaBloPoMo!

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    1. That huge bear is for my brand new niece, born yesterday, with me being a big role in her birth. So much more on that to come. I'm still winding down from that life changing experience.

      I am going to have fun with NaBloPoMo. Because of the arrival of DN2, I almost didn't make my post yesterday! Thanks so much for cheering me on, Lisa!

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  4. I loved the article you wrote. Writing for others to read can be a source of anxiety. Comparing ourselves to others only serves to increase our self-doubt, which of course does nothing to help the anxiety. With all of this going on, it's no wonder we seek our comfort zone!

    I'm glad you're stretching in your writing. You have an engaging writing style and subtle humor that make me look forward to your posts. If writing daily helps to get past some of the anxiety, then I think it's a good exercise to do. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much, Janna! You are so kind, and these are compliments that are so encouraging to Scaredy Me. The daily posts have been challenging, but doable so far. I wanted to push myself to do more creative writing on my own rather than wait around for a prompt that I like and can respond to. We'll see how it goes. :)

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  5. Good for you! It's not easy to step out of your comfort zone, and you did it.

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    1. Yes, it was indeed hard to do, Asianmommy. I'm so glad I did, too! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I love that you're stretching outside your comfort zone. I talk to the wee ones all the time about stretching, but I need to do more of it, too. Go you!

    And the NaNoMoBloPo (I can never remember it) should be interesting. If I remember right, you usually write twice a week, so this will be a big change for you!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! You are right--I post twice a week. But if you take a look at my NaBloPoMo pieces over on the other blog, you will see that they are shorter creative writing pieces rather than my regular word diarrhea over here. :) It has still be HARD, since I have been posting just minutes short of the date change to get the posts in. Coming up with something meaningful to write everyday has been a real challenge. 21 more days of this, oy!

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  7. Sandra, you have nothing to fear about your writing! Your pieces are always beautifully and thoughtfully written. :-) I did not know about your Studio30 post. I will read it when I get the chance. I am sure it is one great piece.

    As for the NaNoMoBloPpo, I just can't find the time for a post. Yay! I'll visit your other blog in one go soon. :-) Sorry, I'm slow to catch up.

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  8. I felt the same way about comfort zone but didn't have a blog set up, so I went with a simpler message: http://www.dearcomfortzone.com/ (contains an f-word, you've been warned)
    Good luck leaving the zone as much as possible.

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