There are certain words that make me grind my teeth (co-conspirator — there is no such thing. Either you’re in on it, or you’re looking over your shoulder. There is no in-between). There are certain phrases I have heard over and over again in an attempt to bolster my confidence, alleviate some personal misery or just to turn my mood around. While these are generally well-meaning people, I still want to shove them through a colander at times.
One of these inane phrases is: you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone, bro…
Let me tell you why I hate this phrase. It’s really simple.
I have been out of my comfort zone since ’93. Trust me, I would love to run screaming back into it if I could, but modern physics states I can’t right now. I’ve been way, way out of my comfort zone from 2006 to 2016. Luckily for me, things turned around a little bit, so I’m in a tolerable zone.
The reason why I am bringing this up is because this week (August 24th-28th) is a very bad week for me emotionally. I’m not going to go into particulars right now – those of you that know me will know the reasoning. Those of you who are casual readers of the blog might be able to suss out a reason if you go back far enough.
Well, I asked a writer friend of mine for some help to keep my mind occupied for this week. We are both good friends, but very disparate writers. I tend to be a little darker and more cynical when it comes to my genre fiction: splatterpunk, grimdark fantasy or sci-fi. Even my comedy tends to be of a snarky nature. I’m more of a world weary Bugs Bunny sort of person.
However, my friend commiserated with me, and then gave me an assignment that has not only put me out of my comfort zone as far as writing goes…but is going to challenge me:
Okay, a writing assignment… I would like to see how R. K. Clark does Hallmark. Small town. Guys in flannel shirts. Rival florists or bakers or wedding planners must work together for some reason. Or big city guy comes to town to take over the town’s biggest business. It doesn’t have to be a complete story—some scenes will be fine. But put your spin on it!
I’m not really a romance sort of person to be honest. The closest I’ve gotten to writing one thus far has been Valentina’s Feast…and that’s romantic for a ridiculously small part of the population. A part of the population that I would like to keep a safe distance from.
But even as I sat there, thinking about her assignment…that story popped into my head. I saw the opening scene, where our protagonist is looking at a sign for a developing condo/shopping center and sees an old flame’s name. He realizes that her development is going to take him and everyone else in this kitschy bohemian block out of business, if not get mowed over.
I’ve also been having issues with outlining Resurrectionist’s Blues. Maybe doing something completely different is what I need to get out of this funk I’ve had as of late.
Can’t hurt right? As long as I have three books in the hopper by early December, I’m chugging along.
Maybe this will be the one time I’ll be happy out of my comfort zone.