Yes, though I wouldn’t say “get out of”; I’d say “expand”. You don’t really want to be out of your comfort zone as a writer, as that brings with it a whole slew of confusing and frustrating problems. Stick to expanding. That way you can grow the comfort zone you already have instead of hopping into a new one for which you have no realistic frame of reference.

Alright, let’s begin!

Step 1: Figure out what your comfort zone is. What are you used to writing? Female protagonists in modern high school dramas from a third-person past perspective? Ambiguous protagonists in a far-future sci-fi with tons and tons of research to back it up and a present-tense first-person plural perspective? Here’s a good formula fill-in-the-blank:

I usually write in [point of view] [tense] with a [gender of] protagonist. The genre I most often write in is [genre] and/or [genre] and my plots are often [adjective]. I would describe my basic writing style structurally as [adjective], my normal tone as [adjective], and my usual voice as [adjective]. Common themes in my writing are [theme] and [theme] on the major topics of [topic] and/or [topic]. I am usually writing for a [adjective] audience. 

(I’ll include an example under the Read More for you.)

Figure out what your normal formula is, then proceed to…

Step 2: Stop writing some aspect of the old, familiar formula. If you normally write zippy female leads, write a zippy male lead instead. Normally write in third-person? Try writing in first-person. Basically choose one aspect of your formula to change by substituting a new word for the original in your formula. Just work on making that change for now. Trust me, altering one aspect of your formula at a time is enough.

Step 3: Once you’ve done Step 2 a few times, try changing several aspects of your formula at once and writing something that is truly outside of your comfort zone.

That, in a nutshell, is one method you can use to expand your comfort zone.

Thank you for your question!

-C

Example formula:

I usually write in third-person past with a female protagonist. The genre I most often write in is fantasy and/or young adult and my plots are often complex. I would describe my basic writing style structurally as colloquial, my normal tone as informal, and my usual voice as slightly sarcastic with lots of adjectives. Common themes in my writing are justice and/or community on the major topics of growing up and/or figuring out what love is. I am usually writing for a teenaged audience.

Remember, this formula is for you. Just fill it out in a way that makes sense to you!


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