Writing can be a solitary profession. It’s really easy to spend the entire day in front of the computer working on your book, working on your blog or researching information on a myriad of topics.
However, there are aspects to writing that aren’t solitary at all. When building a platform to promote your writing, you need to reach out using as many forms of social media as you’re comfortable with. Trying to learn the nuances of the trade is often best learned from others who have traveled this well trodden path. This means seeking out strangers who are willing to share with you the knowledge they have gained.
Honestly, I like the solitary aspect of writing. It’s not that I’m not a social person. I think anyone who knows me would probably say I’m outgoing and sociable. It’s just that hunkering down in front of my computer falls completely in my comfort zone. Reaching out to strangers and talking with them … not so much.
Despite the apprehension I feel about putting myself out there, I know it is time to do just that. So, I have joined the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It is my hope that I will learn, grow, give support and be supported by others in my field.
Last week I attended my first SCBWI event. It was hosted at Hicklebees, a fabulous children’s book store in my area. The event allowed me to gain insight into doing in-store author readings and signings. It also provided information on how to get books sold at independent book stores and it gave me an opportunity to mingle with fellow writers and illustrators.
Getting out of your comfort zone
Playing inside your comfort zone keeps your anxiety level low. The things that you do all the time are familiar and therefore easy to do. The people you know well are familiar and therefore easy to be with. Familiarity is enjoyable and comfortable because typically there aren’t any surprises.
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone however, can bring surprising benefits:
- When you challenge yourself, you work harder and therefore perform better.
- When you take risks, you grow as a person.
- You feel more confident.
- You move faster towards your goals.
- You get new opportunities.
I think there’s a balance that’s needs to be struck. Too much anxiety/fear can paralyze you. A little anxiety/fear can push you to learn and grow.
Here’s the beautiful thing. If you are willing to dabble outside of your comfort zone, that zone will grow. The things that previously scared you aren’t so scary once you’ve done them and your mindset adjusts accordingly. You become more bold and daring and less fearful.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
By getting out of my comfort zone and attending the SCBWI event, here’s what happened for me:
- I made a contact with a woman who has published her children’s picture book.
- I also met a woman who might be able to illustrate my book.
- I learned how to go about selling books on consignment.
- I found out about a writing workshop that will be held next year.
Here’s the thing, you don’t know what doors or opportunities will occur when you get out of your comfort zone unless you are willing to feel the anxiety/fear and then do it anyway.
Great things can happen for you and yes, some not so great things can happen as well. But, if you only ever play inside your comfort zone, nothing in your life changes. You don’t know what you are truly capable of doing unless you are willing to take some risks. So, feel the fear and do it anyway and see what opportunities arise.
Question: How often do you dabble outside your comfort zone?