Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a “typical” genre or style I write it, although I certainly prefer first person. What I will say, is that I feel as though the story I’ve been working on recently is outside of my comfort zone, and it’s been a good thing to try.

My publisher, Burning Willow Press, has an ongoing anthology series, Crossroads in the Dark. Volume 1: Anthology of Morality and Volume 2: Urban Legends are already available. Volume 3: Monsters Under Your Bed is due out on September 30. Volume 4 is in progress, and I decided to try writing for it.

Zombie Ghost PostI struggled for a while to figure out what to write. I based my first attempt on this tumblr post that popped up on my Facebook feed ages ago.

It didn’t go well. With about 300 words written, realized I didn’t like what I was writing. Determined to make it work, I outlined a few different ideas, and even started writing one of them, but the story just wasn’t going well. I wasn’t willing to try to force something that didn’t want to happen, so I decided to give it up as a lost cause and try to come up with a different idea.

Just when I was starting to think I wouldn’t be able to write anything after all, Jim (my fiance) and I had a fun conversation that sparked an idea. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I started writing.

It was slow going at first. I didn’t have a firm plan or vision for the story, and it was unlike anything I’d written before. But I got the intro and the ending written, and didn’t dislike them. I wrote bits as they came to me, and found that ideas flowed easier as I got further into the story. I suppose it shouldn’t really surprise me.

Finally, after a month (a whole month!) I finished the story yesterday. It sits at just over 4,500 words. I gave it to some friends and fellow authors at Burning Willow Press to give it a look. I didn’t want to submit something that people really disliked.

So far, though, it’s been well thought of. Everyone has at least enjoyed the story, which is all I can really ask for with a first draft. I think with a couple more read-throughs, and a bit of polishing, it’ll be ready to submit for consideration.

I definitely think I’d like to try writing outside of my comfort zone even more, as I’m pretty happy with the final story, and it was a fun learning experience. But I don’t know that I want to tackle a deadline-based story again. It’s hard for me to just churn out content.

I’ll certainly keep you all updated on what happens with this story. But for now, wish me luck!

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