Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5 Ways to Get Out of Your Creative Writing Comfort Zone

A lot of us writers have a set way of doing things. Both our work and our writing life have patterns and habits that we may not even recognize. But a lot of times we can be missing out on some great opportunities if we don't get out of our comfort zone every once in a while. Here are some ideas of how to do just that:

1. Try a new genre. This is an obvious but important one. If you've never tried poetry, try it. If you've never tried YA, try it. You may be surprised at what you can do, and may find a new love.

2. Try a new style/voice. This is related to the first, but slightly different. For example, even if you want to stick with one of your customary genres, maybe try writing it in present tense. If you've never written a male main character, try it. Experiment with voice by pretending you are a different writer.

3. Change up your writing space. Rearrange your office, library, bedroom, wherever you write. Put new pictures in the room. Experiment with the music that you play. And if you don't want to go that far, just try writing in a bunch of new places like parks, coffee shops, or a different room in the house. See what happens.

4. Use a new marketing venue. There are so many marketing opportunities out there, and you never know what could happen when you start using new ones. Sites like facebook, twitter, myspace, youtube, flickr, or even community gaming sites. Experiment with newspapers, book clubs, or other events. If you market primarily to middle-age women, maybe see what happens with college students.

5. Find new editor-friends. Its great to have a set group of people who can help critique your work, but a fresh set of eyes may give you feedback you otherwise would not have gotten. Each person has a different take, and a fresh take may know exactly what it is your piece needs to make it work.

What are your ideas? What do you do when you feel your writing getting stale?

Sarah Allen


  1. Sarah, I love number five. I would love to find new beta readers and critique buddies, but it seems as if either I move or they move and life gets very busy.

    For my day job, I write nonfiction--court reports, small business stuff and newsletters. This helps tremendously. I think just consentrating on a different kind of writing is good for the writing brain.

    Thanks for the nice post.

  2. Thanks for the kind words :-) Court reports, eh? Sounds like interesting stuff! I bet it would help. Best of luck on finding more/new beta-readers.

    Sarah Allen

    p.s. I'm not the best editor, and busy with school, but if you get really desperate I would be happy to look over some stuff for you :-) Just send me an email if its needed.


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