Into the Unknown: Stuck in a Writing Rut? It Might Be Time to Expand Your Comfort Zone

From Writers Unboxed:

Like many writers, I’m an introvert. I’m perfectly content sitting in my office alone, in complete silence, for hours on end doing nothing but reading and writing. Crowds make me anxious. Having to make small talk with strangers at parties and business events exhausts me beyond words. If given a choice between talking to someone on the phone and sending them an email, I always choose the latter.

For the most part, this isn’t a problem. Or at least I didn’t think it was until recently.

At the end of December, my publisher emailed me a report detailing my book sales for the previous quarter. I noticed that every time I attended an in-person event or did an author talk, there was a bump in sales. This is great news, and very useful information. The only problem is that I’d rather get a cavity filled than speak in front of group of people. I don’t do it nearly as often as I should.

About a week after I received the report from my publisher, I was thumbing through a self-help book while waiting for my husband to check out at a local book store. Opening the book to a random page, I stumbled upon this: If you want to grow personally and/or professionally you first have to expand your comfort zone.

The author went on to say that our comfort zones are often cozy traps that prevent us from challenging ourselves in ways that allow us to learn new skills, expand our social circles, and grow our careers.

According to the book, the best way to increase the number and variety of things you feel confident about is to do things that make you feel prickly and awkward—like public speaking—often enough that they begin to feel normal. If you keep it up, the thinking goes, activities that make you anxious will eventually become part of a new, more inclusive comfort zone.

This makes sense if you think about things you’ve likely done in the past, such as learning how to ride a bike or drive a car. With repetition and practice, even the most intimidating activities begin to feel like second nature. Your worldview expands, making it possible to see situations and people from different perspectives. Having an expanded view of the world, or at least a small part of it, can also help foster creativity, help make your writing more engaging, and perhaps even motivate you to give other difficult things a try.

Link to the rest at Writers Unboxed

PG says, it’s the old, old, old story.

Most writers are introverts. That’s one of the reasons they enjoy spending a day — writing.

A spouse or children are usually not terribly stressful so long as they give the author her space, her time, which is not to be violated unless someone is bleeding or the fire alarm sounds.

While not true for all writers, a great many get rejuvenated when they’re writing