It’s all well and good to find your own comfort zone, of course. It’s always healthy to have that stable ground to come back to when things get crazy. You can hibernate there for a little bit and recharge, so you can come back out, rested and ready to go.
This is the same for my writing as well. I have certain comfort zones I stay within, at least for my rough drafts. I use them as a baseline to work off of, so I know precisely how far I’m letting the plot threads evolve. This is how I’m able to read the feel of my stories, how I’m able to control how they will affect the reader.
But sometimes it’s good to break out of that comfort zone, and head towards unknown territory.
I realized this when I wrote the Apartment Complex story; one of the reasons it wasn’t working for me was that I was trying to keep it in a stable comfort zone that it didn’t belong in. So instead I let fate and instinct take the reins on this one. The end result was that I’d created character styles I hadn’t written before, doing things I had never written about previously. I definitely wasn’t pantsing it; I knew exactly where this story was supposed to go. I just let the characters tell me how they wanted to evolve. They knew more about themselves than I did. In the end, the story ended up being, in my opinion anyway, one of the best ones I’ve ever written. I can’t wait to share it with everyone in 2019!
Breaking out of the comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean doing the exact opposite of whatever your idea of living a safe, comfy life is. I’m not about to take up free climbing or whatever it is middle aged Manly Men are supposed to do. But it’s definitely given me a lot to think about in terms of my life at the moment. This is about getting rid of those old blinders and barriers you’ve been hanging onto for so long, and seeing how far you can go. You’ll be surprised how big the playing field may have gotten while you weren’t looking.