Writing Outside (Your Comfort Zone)

So I love to write outside. IMG_0969It’s one of my favorite things to do. IMG_1093









But outside my comfort zone? Not so much.

However, in the last year or two, I’ve been having stories come to me that don’t fit into a poem or picture book.

They insist on being (gasp) novels. Now, I love novels, but I have never believed I was equipped to write one.

I mean, I’m a short form gal. Yet those stories keep showing up at my doorstep, and I don’t have the heart to turn them away. IMG_3509

So, for now, I’m going to the Little Red Writing Desk, and putting what I know into a notebook. Actually two notebooks. Because the ideas are growing. Somehow, it seems safer to scribble in a notebook than to sit down at the computer and type CHAPTER ONE.  Now that’s terrifying for us short form folks. But messing about in a notebook…it’s as easy as journaling. No expectations at all at this stage except to get the ideas down and see what happens.

Maybe you have an idea outside your comfort zone too. Feel free to share! Remember we’re in this together.IMG_3508






HINT OF THE DAYIf you have a project that takes you outside of your comfort zone, approach it in a different way than you normally would. If you usually write at a computer, try a notebook.

If you most often write on lined paper, try the wide open blank page. If you never draw what you are thinking, sketch out your rough ideas this time.

4 Responses to “Writing Outside (Your Comfort Zone)”

  1. Faye Snider says:


    I share your experience with trying out new formats and forms so as to ease into a project. I moved from a year of daily exploration of gratitude writing in a journal to a weekly blog on the subject. The year long effort was a practice and training in deepening my knowledge and awareness of the subject.

    I love that you are writing into a novel. Hopefully, by the time your notebooks are filled, you will feel ready to shape your first novel!

    • tessa says:

      Thanks, Faye, for reading, and sharing your thoughts. I’m so glad you are exploring gratitude in ever expanding ways. It is certainly a subject, and practice, to last a lifetime. All the best, Cathy.

  2. Jacque says:

    I understand this impetus. I’ve been attempting to write about my cancer experiences for more than a year–trying to force it into poems because that’s where I’m most comfortable. But the stories are not conforming. At. All. I guess I’m ok with that but, because I don’t feel as sharp in this area…I’m not as open about what I’m doing. I know it’s just fear. I’m working on shaking it.

    • tessa says:

      I think the important thing is to get the experiences down in some way so that you have the raw material to mold. You think you will always remember the traumatic details, the waves of emotion, but even the most horrible fade over time. Yet, if you have the basic clay, then you can keep shaping and playing and punching down until the clay finds the form it wants to be.

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