Archive | July 2017

The Importance of Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

 

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Image: Jack Moreh (Freerangestock.com)

I have done something I should have done a long time ago. I learned this, finally, during my time in college.

Stepping out of your comfort zone. You see, it’s very easy for us, especially writers, to wanna “play it safe” with their work, or life in general. We worry about other people’s opinions, what the Internet or media would say and how family and friends would take our ideas.

My time in college forced me to step out of my comfort zone in terms of faith, confidence, communication and, ultimately, my passion. Some of you may know that in 2015, my final year of school, I lost my confidence.

Ir was the emptiest feeling I’ve ever had in my life. It happened because of those fears of other people, and even myself because of what I could really do. For a couple weeks, I managed to type out response logs for a class and write out papers, but it became harder. I kept doubting myself, I felt my work was horrible and unoriginal. That my ideas were silly.

I always preferred writing fiction or plays and monologues. Poetry I always did on a whim. Maybe I just needed to take a break. Make more time for books beyond schoolwork and write for myself and not for classes. That is a lesson I’m still working on to this day.

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Image: Stuart Miles (Freerangestock.com)

Sometimes, you find yourself and shine most when you step out of the safety net. When I wrote a poem for myself, I found my confidence again. The feeling of accomplishing, albeit small and short, a written piece for myself made all the difference. My work with my alma mater’s Center for Religious and Spiritual Life sustained me too; leaving me fulfilled and proud of the stories I’ve covered, the people I’ve interviewed and learning about faith and life.

Since college, I try new things more: the MasterClass on writing taught by James Patterson, writing posts for this new website called YAYWORLD, wanting to do a serial fiction piece for Radish, this blog.

I’m not gonna lie and say stepping out to try something new happens overnight. It takes time. For me it’s taken a couple of years. At 24, I’m still learning and bettering myself, gaining confidence a day at a time.

Don’t be afraid, even in your writing, to check out other outlets to share your work, new genres you like reading and other writing forms.

How do you as a writer try to step out of your comfort zone?

 

Going Forward: What’s Next When Things Go Wrong

I would like to begin this post thanking everyone who checked out my prior post. I have sincerely appreciated and am grateful for the views. It wasn’t easy, but my best writing comes out when I’m honest and not hiding how I’m feeling.

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Image: Jack Moreh (Freerangestock.com)

As I write this, I wonder how many of us found ourselves in this position. When they realize they’ve lost direction and debate how to move forward. Unfortunately, life doesn’t change overnight no matter how much–and I’ve done this too!–we wish for it. Sometimes the only thing you can really do is focus on what you can control in your life verses what you can’t.

I think it’s pretty easy for us to let life pass us by and bemoan at our failed dreams.

But…when you really think about it, is it all really THAT hopeless?

How many of you have heard the phrase, “This too shall pass”? Or, “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel”? Like me, you have probably told yourself these phrases, but felt at times they weren’t making a difference. Even when clarity does arrive, you feel the regrets pounding at your door: You should have done this or that or why didn’t I do this, etc.

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Image: Chance Agrella (Freerangestock.com)

That’s human. We are human. When I turned 24 a few weeks ago, I felt like I could take a deep breath and put my 23rd year behind me. Are the regrets around? Yes, they are. Are the struggles still here? Yep, they are.

But, the past doesn’t have to be.

How many of you wished you finished a book sooner? Wished you had entered that writing contest you ended up forgetting about? Wished you had taken the time to sit down at your computer, or grab that notebook, and write? Or, regretted something you wrote because you felt there was more you wanted to say that you didn’t consider before?

Here’s the thing. That’s the past. At this very moment, how much do we really have to lose? Go back to that book or start fresh. Watch for every contest opportunity and go for it by making a list and calendar tracking deadlines, word counts and other guidelines. With something you already did, you can always rewrite. Plus, the rewrite could become inspiration for a newer story you could be proud of.

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Image: Jack Moreh (Freerangestock.com)

My fellow writers, going forward can be just as hard as realizing your feelings about things that matter to you, being honest with yourself about your mistakes and returning to your unfinished work, wondering why you stopped in the first place. You will get back up, but also face trials within yourself, from others and the curve-balls of life.

The key is not letting the past, those regrets and emotions win.

We all have the power to go forward.

We just need to take that first step, and take it one day at a time.