Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What to think of "comfort zones" as a writer?

One of the most surefire ways to get anyone to feel doubt and guilt is to talk about 'comfort zones'.  It's about how we could do better than we're currently doing. We're supposedly playing it too safe, and we shouldn't be content with our lives as they are right now.

In any case, I think there are at least two ways to approach comfort zones. The first one is about trying to expand our repertoire - what's reasonable, possible and realistic to change. That can be achieved through stepping outside of our comfort zones.

The second approach is to create stuff by being inside our comfort zones. Despite what some people might think, being inside your bubble and your safe zone can be a good thing too. It isn't necessarily about being lazy at all.

So let's start with the first one. What are the things that I should or could change about myself by stepping outside the box? Would these changes increase my happiness or the happiness of others? What would the likely end result be?

In my case, would it be a challenge and would it take me out of my comfort zone if I for example updated this blog twice a week instead? Would it be a good thing to be even more active? Would the quality of my articles go up or down perhaps?

What if I wrote a spec television pilot? Would that be a challenge for me to create new characters and storylines? Me spending time writing that 30 page pilot sitcom about a family that people might be able to relate to.

What if I tried to get an agent? That would mean that I would have to start contacting people outside my immediate social circle? This would mean that I would have to do something that I'm not used to doing at all.

Or should I even try to move to United States so that I could have better chances getting hired as a screenwriter? Would big television producers think differently about me if they met me in person instead of reading this blog?

As you can see, these are some of the options that I could take. Some of them are pretty good. Some of them are more difficult to implement than others. Clearly there's value in challenging yourself in many cases. I probably should get out of my comfort zone more.

At the same time, let's not forget that there's the other side to the coin. Being a writer is mostly about being in your comfort zone. Writing good stuff, writing anything that has any value at all, is going to be done by you - the writer.

It's not going to happen anywhere else by anyone else. All the coolest things imaginable are going to be created by you - in a place where you're sitting next to your computer, writing with your keyboard, trying to make sense out of the chaos that is around us - in silence.

If you step out of that 'comfort zone' too many times, nothing is going to be done by you. There won't be anything to publish or anything that you could show to anyone - which in essence is what makes writing in general so fascinating - and difficult. 

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