Elizabeth: Comfort Zones

View_of_the_LakeThe picture to the left is the view from my new office window.

Nice, right?

There has been some rearranging going on at work lately – people moving into new roles, people retiring – which resulted in the availability of a “prestigious” window office.

I had the opportunity to move from my dark inner-hall office into a window office many times before, but I always declined.  I was comfortable where I was and had no burning desire to move. “Prestige” isn’t one of the things that I worry over-much about.  This time, however, when the space coordinator called to ask if I wanted to move into a newly vacant window office, I surprised both her and myself by saying yes (after only a minor amount of coercion).

Moving offices is a bit of a pain, especially after ten years with a company, but it’s also kind of freeing.  I have spent the last several days going through drawers and files and whatnot, filling up the recycling bins and letting go of years of accumulated stuff that hadn’t been looked at since it was first filed away.  The new office came with its own accumulated stuff that had to be dealt with too, along with two dead plants and a broken cabinet.

Changing offices has meant not only a new view and a different set of office “neighbors,” but also a change of perspective and a chance to do a little re-calibrating.

So, what does any of this have to do with writing?

In recent weeks, or maybe months, the majority of my writing efforts have been focused on the “just for fun” piece I’ve been serializing for our Friday Writing Sprints.  That story has been easy and entertaining and, quite frankly, comfortable.

Making the change at work has motivated me to do a little writing shake-up here at home.  That doesn’t mean that Cassie and Nicolai will be left in how-does-this-story-end-limbo on Fridays, it just means that I’m shifting out of my writing comfort zone and  getting back to the other stories in progress that have been languishing.

So far that has meant going through my notes and in-progress stories and doing some purging to get rid of ideas that are going nowhere, multiple draft versions that don’t need to be kept, and assorted files that have become obsolete.  The result is a handful of reasonably well fleshed out story ideas with drafts in varying stages, ready to be worked on.

Ironically, the story I’m moving out of my comfort zone to work on first is one I sketched out earlier last year entitled . . . . wait for it . . . .Comfort Zones.  What are the chances?

So, what have you done lately to get out of your own comfort zone (writing related or not)?

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Comfort Zones

  1. I’ve been changing my house around, too, Elizabeth, incorporating a bunch of new furniture and other household goods, and I’d also put my writing, for the most part, to the side. But I’ve been unhappy about that—if I want to be a novelist, I have to act like a novelist, and that means writing, and writing a lot. Besides, I like to write, even when it gives me fits. So in the last couple of days I’ve sat down with this WIP that I’ve threatened so often to quit on, and I’m making some revisions I’ve had in mind for a while and just generally looking it over to see what I think. I’m pleased to see that from the first few chapters, I still think it’s a good idea. 🙂 So I guess I’ll get out of my comfort zone of not working on it and just, well, start working on it.

    Lovely view from your new office, by the way!

    • Kay – glad to hear you and your WIP have gotten back together and that your revisions are working out. It seems so easy to let writing slip to the side, even when you want to be doing it, so good for you for getting back to work. I”m trying my best to follow your lead 🙂

  2. Nice, Elizabeth! Though I don’t know if I’d get any work done with a view like that outside my window 🙂 .

    My current WIP (I’m going to have to stop calling it my ‘new’ WIP as I’ve been pecking at it for months now) is far outside my comfort zone. Different genre, different POV, totally different style of plot, with many things I know nothing about. I’m loving it except when I hate it. It’s going well except for the times I’m completely stuck. I’m feeling good about things today, but ask me again tomorrow, who knows???

    • Jilly – that’s great that you have taken a leap outside your comfort zone with your current WIP and that is is going great (except for when it isn’t 🙂 ). I think there’s a lot to be said for trying something different every now and then, just to recharge a little bit and tap into a different aspect of your creativity. Can’t wait to read your finished product.

  3. (-: That’s a beautiful view! The sunshine is going to make you very happy, I bet! There’s something comfortable about working in a cave, but there’s also something to be said for working in a place with vistas and horizons!

    The idea of writing can make me intensely uncomfortable. I love doing it when I’m doing it (usually), but the idea of breaking out of comfort zones even further . . . makes me nervous.

    The strange thing is that I like doing unusual characters who are doing strange things. It seems to me that one way I could break out of my comfort zones is to write a hero with a mission and a lot of machismo, and a heroine who kicks ass (mine mostly think). You know, the kind of stuff that has a proven track record and that readers supposedly like. But it makes me want to throw up from nervousness. I’d much rather write about grad students meeting transvestite jugglers and reacting to the trouble that pops up in an airport . . . .

    Anyway, this year is the year that I said I’d do fun stuff. Comfortable stuff. Stuff that I actually want to do. The year isn’t even half over yet, so I think I’ll just stick to the plan, and stick to my comfort zones. I’ll re-evaluate next December.

    • Thanks Michaeline. Yes, it will be nice to have some sunshine and actually *know* when it’s daylight out. As for your writing, I vote for staying with the “unusual characters who are doing strange things.” I love the little snippets of story you’ve been creating for the Friday Sprints and look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

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