Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Forsaking the Zone (Leah Lindeman guest post)

Silence permeates a musty-smelling library, shadows touched by flickers from candlelight. In the centre of this haven is a mahogany desk upon which sits leather-bound volumes. And the hunched over writer scribbles furiously; his ingenuity rolls through his tensed muscles. His masterpiece must be put into words.

Reality is that most of us fight to a gain a sense of peace and to be in a comfortable state when we write. Writing isn't about being comfortable; it's about forsaking our comfort zone.

Last year, Robert Lee Brewer challenged his participants to their build their social media platforms in one month. Many of the daily tasks I passed over because I was either too lazy, too busy, or too scared. However, I kept all the tasks I didn't do in my inbox. Just last month did I decide to revisit them, promising myself that I wouldn't provide an excuse for any lack of action.

Leah Lindeman, forsaking the comfort zone

One of the tasks was to set up an RSS feed. When I viewed the instructions on Google, I was ready to abort my mission. Words such as HTML, feed burner, and RSS feed intimidated me. I am no computer genius. But I was determined to do something new, to get out of my comfort zone. I followed the steps slowly. 
When I finally saw the RSS feed symbol on my blog page, I was ecstatic. I went on to setting up an e-mail subscription link, as well. This small, brave step for me has given my blog the potential to attract even more followers; and I am now able to use my "expertise" to help my friends set up these important functions.

Try New Things
Another way I try to get out of my comfort zone is to try new things, discover new places. This correlates with the advice "write what you know." There are arguments for its antithesis: "Write what you don't know." I won't try to prove which point is better over than the other; however, there is merit in writing about what you do know. 
For example, I've gone bungee-jumping twice. This daredevil stunt doesn't have anything to do with writing directly. But if I ever were to write a scene in which my character free falls or feels a greater force than his own pulling him in a certain direction, I could insert a realistic feel into the scene, making it and my character even more compelling and relatable. Try something new; you will have a wide range of experiences from which to glean.

Editorial Calendar
For those of us who like to roll with the punches, setting up an editorial calendar is hard. We like to create order, but we may not like to work within order. The problem with being disorganized is that it's a gamble; our feelings are the basis for our progression toward our goals. Setting up an editorial calendar which highlights research dates, deadlines, blogging subjects, and more will ensure success most of the time. 
My editorial calendar mainly consists of which days are set apart for blogging and an idea to go with each of those days. As a result, I've been much more consistent with my blogging; and I've been gaining more followers and connecting with them. What used to be uncomfortable has now become comfortable.

The first step is usually the hardest to take. But if you jump outside your box, you will expand whilst you benefit others. For me, setting up an RSS feed, trying new things, and setting up an editorial calendar has helped me become a better writer. Get out of your comfort zone. In what ways can you become uncomfortable?

Leah Lindeman was born in Montreal, Quebec. Throughout her childhood, she dabbled in different extracurricular activities such as ballet, piano lessons, and soccer. But writing became her one passion starting a few years ago. Wanting to become better, Leah enrolled in a writing correspondence course given by the Institute of Children's Literature. She graduated with honours and began working on her first novel. Presently, she is researching material for her second novel; and she is trying to conclude the finishing touches on the first. When Leah is not reading or writing, she's usually taking care of her home, her husband, and two children. Some of her hobbies include horseback riding, visiting with friends and family, and singing.
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Here are some previous guest posts: