Those Cozy Comfort Zone Cabins

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Pretty much sums it up.

Today I want to talk about something that can make or break you in anything that you do, your comfort zone. I could fill a small car with notebooks detailing all the things I’ve been interested in doing over the years but didn’t, because of my fear of stepping out of that comfort zone.

And that’s what a comfort zone is, a place we don’t feel afraid. It’s cozy there, warm and snugly like being curled up in front of a fireplace with a good book, a blanket tucked securely around us. We know what to expect, we know what is expected of us and we know we have the tools to do what needs to be done there. We don’t feel pressure in the comfort zone or if we do it’s manageable, still safe.

Recently, I’ve been pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone because while it’s safe and cozy, not a whole hell of a lot happens here. After a while, being safe and cozy gets a boring. The fire stifling, the blanket scratchy, the book read a thousand times. I stare into the flames and start day dreaming. What if I shed this blanket and step outside? Will I be eaten by a starving bear? Will I fall into a snow drift and freeze to death? What’s it like to do this or that or that other thing I’ve been thinking about?

So, I open the door, just a little. I write down an idea, just a scribble. I get excited. Something inside me sparks hotter than the fire in the hearth. I want more. I take a step out into the snow, it’s not as deep as I imagined. The cold is bearable, the fire within warms me as I take another step. Then it happens, I stumble. The warmth leeches out of me. I find tools to help me stand again. I could run back into the warmth, wrap myself up, pickup that same worn book. It’s there, calling to me.

But I don’t.

The world outside my comfort zone is so much more alive than I could imagine. I feel excited about life, discoveries, like a child again. Am I scared? Hell yes. There’s no ceiling here to protect me. There are many other places I could fall down. Sometimes those falls are hard, I scrape a knee, I break a bone. But I mend. I learn. I go on.

Lately, I’ve discovered that those debilitating fears I’ve had over things I’ve wanted to do are mostly unfounded. Yes, it’s still scary. The unknown always is. But the snow isn’t as deep and the scrapes don’t hurt as much as I thought. I’m still nervous, waiting for that bear to pop out from behind a tree. Here, though, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Here, I grow, learn, live instead of aging stagnant under a blanket of doubts, warmed by the fire of fear, stuck reading the same old book. Here, I write my own pages, I warm myself, I wrap experiences around me that strengthen me.

Here, surrounded by friends, those met and those to come, fired by desire and excitement to create a life worth living, create a life that burns a streak through the snow, my path, my journey one that could never have happened had I stayed inside.

I challenge you to take a peek outside today, take a step into that white void, to follow the things that spark life in your soul, sign up for that class, write down that idea, make that call you’ve been putting off, and leave your comfort zone behind. Don’t worry, it’ll be there waiting for you if you need it. But once you experience the world outside, I don’t think you will.

ROW80 Goals (accomplishments and progress toward THESE goals)

-Signed up for NaNoWriMo even though I said I wouldn’t

-Looked up workouts and expanded mine (wow, my thighs hurt today. Exercised Fri and Sat)

-Left a message for the gym the next town over (stepping out of that comfort zone…)

-Started planning my NaNo story combining 2 ideas and outlining and map making

-Wrote another 1300 for Faylinn bringing the serial novel total up to over 17,500 words and closer to conclusion

-Signed up for a Tarot story lining class (starts today!) will use this in my NaNo outlining

-Finished 5 college class assignments leaving 3 (half way+ done with the class!) and ordered the next classes books

-Researched the class requirements for my BA

-Commented on over 10 ROW80 Wednesday updates and another 5 for Sunday (so far, working on doing more)

-Read 2 chapters in Characters, Emotions and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress though I’m supposed to be reading the ECE by Margie Lawson, oops

-Written a few more blog posts for my Paleo blog

-Halfway+ finished with Alex Laybourne’s Highway to Hell which will have a review up after (2 books left for this goal)

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33 responses »

  1. I like this post. I love the concept of pushing boundaries and expanding horizons. Trying new things is always a great experience even if you don’t enjoy the ‘thing’ itself.

    If I say so myself the ROW Goals look good, and you know what they say. Start at the bottom of the list and work your way up. 🙂 lol

    • I need to make a list first LOL Right now I’m just doing what I want to when I want to and that isn’t going to get me by for long.

  2. This post really strikes a chord with me. Up until a year ago I was sitting around, dreaming, kibitzing with writing. Not really serious. Sure a few projects for friends here and there. Then I stepped outside. Started blogging. Tweeting. Improving craft. Writing constantly. It is all scary, at first, but I’m actually enjoying the wilds and that bear, I had him over for tea the other day. Nice guy.

    Great job on your goals. You will love the Kress book. I finished it during Round 3 and the advice given in it has been invaluable.

    Have a great week, Crystal 🙂

    • I’m reading it in small chunks right now which is why it’s taking me so long to get through, Just taking a few minutes here and there and grabbing it and reading until the next bold heading.

      I was the same way too, until earlier this year (when I started writing and then a few months later when I started the blog). I just felt like there are so many writers, so many better than myself, so many that I could never hope to attain their heights so why bother? Why welcome that rejection? But part of me just can’t let this writing thing die. I HAVE to do this. I don’t feel complete otherwise.

  3. Crystal, your post on five-year goals,as well as Kait’s, were impetus for me to write my life goals. And now you’ve said a lot of what I said about writing in that as well. I think perhaps one difference between us is that I am miserable in my comfort zone. It feels like I’m watching a movie of what I want my writing life to be, but I cannot figure out how to step through the screen to get to it. And although I am miserable, it is a comfort zone. The old chestnut about “the devil you know” is a chestnut because it is true.

    I am slowly stepping out of my comfort zone, baby steps at a time. I’m several months behind Gene in the process, but have done some things (posted a flash fiction, started a blog) that I never thought I would 6 months ago. I used to be such an explorer; I really hope that I can find the fire that has been banked for far too long and breathe some life back into it.

    You’re doing very well on goals–I signed up for that Tarot class, too. I can’t quite wrap my head around it yet, but hey, that means it isn’t in my comfort zone!

    Thanks for making me think about taking some more baby steps. Have a lovely week!

    • Oh if you want we can chat about the Tarot together! Or maybe get together at Starbucks and play around with it a bit. Do you have a deck?

      It’s hard stepping out of that warmth but sometimes it just becomes too unbearable to stay.

      • That would be great! I’ve not gotten a deck yet; I asked whether that was a problem, and the class presenter said no (which is good).

        I agree about the warmth. Like Gene, I’ve only shared my work with a very small group of friends, but I’m starting to feel that I’m roasting over the fire, not by it!

  4. I do like the idea of pushing those boundaries…I even started a blog that’s all about going outside the comfort zone (Going out on a Limb).

    My current WIP is about something familiar to many of us…writing, blogging; but exploring this character took me out of my comfort zone.

    I like your blog and your goals!

    I have been doing my check-in posts at Creative Moments (http://laurelrainsnowswonderland.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/10-23-check-in-row-80-round-four/)

  5. I remember when I first started RoW80, I decided to push myself past my comfort zone and into the zone of dedicating myself more fully to my writing, letting my writing be my number one priority, and I’ve been so glad I did ever since! Of course, now I feel that the routine I’ve gotten into is now a comfort zone, and I’ve got to find a way to step out of that to change it up a bit!

    Great job on your goals! Sounds like you’re getting a lot accomplished!

    • Yes, once we get comfortable *and realize it* I think its important to throw in some spice, mix it up. Being comfortable doing something for how ever long is important too.

      I’ve done a lot of things from spinning wool to breeding rabbits, sewing children’s clothes…once I get comfortable I either stop because I have enjoyed the experience but it’s just not for me or I add to it, make it harder or know that it’s there in my comfort zone to pick up again when I want to. Writing though, well, that sticks around, I haven’t been able to shake it and it’s time to step it up.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Loved this post! I know what you mean about the comfort zone; have been spending a bit too much time there recently, hence the boredom and the extra pounds around my middle. Oh dear! Time to get up and at ’em, I think!

  7. Absolutely wonderful articulation of your point! It’s a great time to post this, too, as so many of us are getting ready to jump into those unfamiliar NaNo waters! It’s like Peter might have said….’You can’t walk on water unless you get out of the boat!’.

    Good luck as you prepare your notes and outline for NaNo! I’ll be doing the same today – after I type awhile – you know, I have to get that novella into my betas’ hands!

  8. Crystal, this is an absolutely gorgeous post. You capture this idea of comfort zones vs. the cold and scary outdoors so well, and as Nadja said, it’s incredibly apt as we lead up to NaNo (I am going to have to link you in the next Fun Not Fear! mashup!). I’ve found over the years that my comfort zone when it comes to writing is in brainstorming, researching, and starting the first draft, but never actually finishing what I’ve started. Learning how to finish things is on my to-do list.

    I am so excited to hear that Faylinn is coming to a close — it looks like you’ve got a full-scale novella on your hands, and that is no small accomplishment. I am woefully behind, so I will be dedicating myself to catching up this week. 😀

    • Thank you so much! Let me know if you link me, I get super excited about stuff like that 😀

      Finishing is hard for me too, I get really drawn into new ideas so much so that’s the main reason for my NaNo sign up. My brain dump in long hand didn’t work and my outlining in Scrivener is just pulling me in deeper!

      I need to make a to-do list…

    • Yes, it was a rather productive week. I’m really trying to change things in my life to reflect the things I want and the things I need. Can’t guarantee every week will be so forward-moving but I’m getting there!

    • There isn’t really is there? Though my over active imagination keeps me company, I’m not really getting anywhere.

  9. Wow, I am exhausted from just reading about all you have done and what you have planned. Overachiever may be an understatement in your case. Keep it going and good luck going forward!

  10. Gah, I love Indexed! She seriously sums up life so simply in Venn diagrams.

    Great post today, and good luck with your spontaneous NaNo plunge.

    -Gina

  11. Lofty set of goals. Good luck with getting it all done!

    I liked your post about the confort zone. Isn’t it funny how everyone’s is different? I am totaly leaving my comfort zone now that I am starting to query. I feel like I am in “no man’s land”

    • Those are actually my accomplishments toward my goals 🙂 The goals are about 6 or 7. I should have specified that.

      Good luck on the query!

  12. Great post. We’d never accomplish anything if we didn’t step out side our comfort zones. Nano is one of those things that takes me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to do more, to be more creative. Glad you decided to join in. We’ll be cheering each other onward to the goal. Good job with your goals. Have a great week.

  13. Pingback: Monday Inspirations: The Beginner’s Challenge | Lena Corazon

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