How to Write Out of Your Comfort Zone

Written By: Apurva Agrawal

It is well established that as one grows as a writer, one also grows comfortable with certain styles and genres of writing. These styles and genres might be the writer’s natural inclination or they might have fallen into his bag of favorites due to ease and repetition. You know what I am talking about, right? Yes. It is a writer’s comfort zone we are all too familiar with. However, life is not all roses and writing is not always in the zone.

Through wit or fortune, writers from time to time find themselves in throes of projects that involve topics or stylistic guidelines that are not their usual brand of, err…jello shots! I remember the first time I was offered to write on a topic I wasn’t too familiar with. I cringed inwardly at first but accepted the project in the end solely to see how far I could stretch myself. I was geared up and excited to test myself. And, you wouldn’t believe what happened next! No, I did not finish the article on day one. Oh no, I did not finish the article on day 7 either. It took me right up to a couple of days to the deadline to finally settle into actually writing it and then barely managing to submit it on time. I did a fine work but was annoyed at myself for the lousy way in which I handled the entire thing.

Since then, I employ the following strategies whenever I find myself out of my comfort zone because I definitely don’t want to get annoyed at myself, especially about the thing I love.

1.    Stop Procrastinating

The reason I had to rush to make it to the deadline was because I demonstrated extraordinary laziness towards beginning work on the project. I kept telling myself that I would begin at the “right” moment. Trust me. There is no right moment unless that moment is “now”. So stop putting your new project on the back burner, eat a procrastination kill-pill and get clicking.

2.    Research

When a topic is out of a writer’s comfort zone, there’s a good chance that the rate of familiarity with the lingo, ongoing trends, current requirements and other highs and lows will not be ideal. In that case, jot down what you already know about the topic and what you don’t and spend some quality time researching the topic at hand. Browse through available content both in print and digital media. A good idea is to join online forums relevant to the topic and find out what’s hot and what’s not about it. Conversing with fellow writers who are indigenous to the genre also gives much desired clarity.

3.    Do This First

Writers sometimes, who am I kidding, most of the times, go crazy handling several projects at the same time. Of course, we prioritize, depending on various factors such as deadlines, urgency, importance, client etc. But when presented with an out of comfort zone scenario, it is O.K. to let other projects sit on the back seat for just a while until you have rocked this new project enough to give it a momentum that is continual and you could pick it up from where you left . Again, the key here is to not procrastinate.

4.    Organize Your Thoughts

It is possible that you get caught up researching the subject matter and all the information begins to clutter up. To avoid messing up hours and hours of painstakingly obtaining the needed material, it will be wise to organize your research and resultant thoughts into an easily retrievable format. Most writers do this for every project but it becomes all the more necessary in this case as there might be the possibility of a mix-up and lower retentiveness of spontaneous ideas. It is up to the individuals to decide which format is optimum for them. Some do it at regular intervals; others do it as they go. Some prefer hand written notes, a pin board and sticky notes; others opt for digital files and folders.

5.    Take It Easy

Working on a subject that you have not previously worked on must not become something that will harass you, keep you up at nights and affect other projects. When writing out of the comfort zone, it is important to keep in mind that this is but an undertaking that will grow you as a writer and only serve to expand that comfort zone. Fretting on it will be of no help. Instead, relax, go to your favorite writing spot, sip on your favorite beverage and let the writing begin.

About the writer:

Apurva is a freelance writer and Guest Lecturer for English. She likes to take a pinch out of life and explore it via her writing. She is an extrovert who is always excited to meet new people but can also be seen hanging out with her beloved books. Apart from writing, she loves cooking and is a food blogger too. Her food blog is where she relishes her two passions, cooking and writing. You can visit her blog at Ginger Juliennes." 

1 comment:

  1. This article is very happy. I still get goose bumps and stressed out when I attempt something new, in particular, something out of my comfort zone. There was a time when I was a news reporter, I interviewed Shibani Kashyap for a feature story. At that time, feature was new to me and I took three days to finish it life style articles on Guardian and HT to get a hang. Finally, it was uff! That's why I spend a fortune on life style mags to get the style still gets me stressed out.


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