Friday, August 16, 2019

Why & How to Step out of Your Writing Comfort Zone

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As a whole, writers consistently struggle with self-confidence. Part of that comes, I believe, from working alone. Another contributing issue is the fact that writing is creating. We bring something tangible out of nothing and it carries our creative DNA. Both of these factors make it hard for us to have accurate perspective, so we err on the side of negativity. We tend to think less of our writing—and our abilities—than we ought. 

Hand in hand with this comes our unwillingness to leave our comfort zones. We’ve each built a safe place, populated it with safe people, and do only safe things there. But as comfortable as we are, this gated community can prove to be  stifling to our creativity.

We’ve got to find ways to break free from comfortable and embrace the new and terrifying.

Why & How to Step Out of Our Writing Comfort Zone
1. Trying new things—hard things—will stretch us and grow us as writers. Even if we choose not to continue with what we’ve tried, that experience will add to our abilities.

2. Leaving our comfort zone gives us a new perspective. When we only view something—writing—from one vantage point, we deny ourselves. For example, writing fiction, after years of writing nonfiction, can add depth and life to both endeavors.

3. We need to change locals to meet new people. Maybe you only write at home, or have a single critique partner. Move location, write in a coffee shop or library. Exchange your writing with someone new to get a different type of input.

4. Write in a different genre. If you write fiction, try your hand at article writing. If you write articles, give poetry a whirl. Wherever you are, try something different.

5. Visit a new group or conference. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and only attend the same group or go to the same conference every year. Instead, be brave. Strike out on your own and visit a new group.

6. Enter a contest or sign up for a critique. It’s important to keep our writing fresh and current. Competing and asking for feedback is a perfect way to do that.

7. Try a writing prompt. There are a lot of books out there with writing prompts, but you can also just to an internet search. Set a timer and let creativity take over.

8. Take part in a write-off. This is a timed writing event. You can challenge another writer, or meet together as a group. The goal is to see who can write the most words in a set time-frame. Pushing yourself with a word-count goal will help turn off your internal editor. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it the fact that you tried that brings the benefit.

9. Ditch the computer and write long-hand. I know, we’re in the twenty-first century, but there’s something ultimately creative by touching pen to paper. You might be surprised how enjoyable it is sometimes. And if you’re one of those who does write everything long-hand, you should give computer technology a try. Not because either is better, but because different leads to discovery.

These are my suggestions. Now it’s your turn to add to the list. What have you done to break out of the writing comfort zone? How has it worked?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Step Out of Your #Writing Comfort Zone and watch what happens! @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


  1. Your lists always give great advice. I like them all but I especially like number 9. Writing in notebooks and journals in longhand brings out ideas I don't see when I'm on the computer. I love the creativity of it. I also like to send hand written cards to people. I think it is more personal. Thanks, Edie!

    1. Barbara, writing actual cards is becoming a lost art! Blessings, E

  2. I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and entered a writing contest. Surprise!!! I won an award for my children's book, "Licky the Lizard". The award was given at the North Carolina Christian Writer's Conference through Serious Writer. If I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and entered the contest, I would not have had a chance to win. Now I can add "Award Winning Author" to my bio. :-)

    1. Melissa, congratulations! Congrats on the win and especially on taking that step of faith - Blessings, E

  3. Good list, Edie. I've purposely tried writing at different times of the day and night. My routine was to write soon after waking up in the morning and then return to it in the evening. I've learned that I get more done by purposely starting an hour earlier in the morning and skipping the 2-hr spot in the late evening. I've also found that I'm far more likely to get into my WIP when NOT wearing shoes! Who knew?
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

    1. Jay, that's awesome! I've also found that different seasons of life mean different times for writing, Blessings, E

  4. Great tips, Edie. I can attest changing writing locations work. There is something about a new environment that replenishes our creativity.

  5. Although I've done almost everything on your list, they weren't done in an attempt to step out of my comfort zone. I did them because I knew they needed to be done for my writing to improve. I never put two and two together until I read this post. :)