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On Leaving your Comfort Zone

So, usually there’s enough of an issue convincing ourselves that what we’re actually writing is worthwhile. We’ve all had those moments where we suddenly know that we’re awful, we should not inflict our writing on the world, and we’re better off starting a new career, one that doesn’t involve words.

So when I tell you that maybe you should consider moving out of your comfort zone, I expect the response to be ‘What comfort zone?! I’m panicking enough as it is!’

On my Masters course recently, we had a variety of different artists come in and talk about what they thought being an artist was all about. Two lessons I found very interesting were:

  • Your first piece of work is always going to end up being autobiographical.
  • We all have themes, the constant intrigues that follow us through life and inspire us constantly.

This means we have a style and subject matter, but puts us in danger of being repetitive. Even if you’re still fascinated by something doesn’t mean your readers will be. My advice? PLAY!

I play the guitar pretty terribly, having only got it when I was seven because I wanted to be a hippie when I grew up, but I thought I’d have a go at song writing. I do this to loosen up, play around a bit, and generally, just see what words my subconscious is storing away. Because once you have a rhythm and a general layout, you can strum away and just see what words appear. Sometimes it’s rather average, and sometimes it’s surprising. Like you’re own internal rhyming dictionary.

So I’ve had a go at writing a song, which you can have a listen to if you want. It’s here.

And I’d encourage you to go play at things, make up songs and rhymes, maybe even expand into different art forms, just to change it up. You know that whole 1% inspiration 99% dedication/perspiration thing? Well, your creative mind is a muscle, don’t let it get sloppy. In the words of my A-Level English teacher:

As soon as you’re comfortable, you’re not working hard enough.

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