I’ve heard that it’s good to get yourself out of your comfort zone, but who really wants to do that? I don’t. I mean I’ve perfected my day-to-day life. What’s the point in messing it up? For the longest time, I couldn’t see one. But even things you love and are used to doing become stagnant after a while. I’ve been itching to make a change the past few months. I do have a big change coming, but until that happens, maybe I should start with baby steps? Bring in “The Businessman,” aka that writing prompt piece from last week.
If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that I write MG and YA. I even prefer reading it, unless we’re talking 18th-century literature. I know. There’s no middle-ground. Or is P.G. Wodehouse considered middle-ground? Anyway, the character from “The Businessman” is kind of the antithesis to ALL of my MG and YA characters—smoker, drinker, thief, and probably a big ol’ flirt if we’re honest. You can imagine what kind of characters my fiction for younger audiences have. None of them do any of those things. The one that tries to flirt ends up screaming “PEE!” at her crush. So, in my on-going quest to improve my writing, I’ve taken it upon myself to work on “The Businessman.” Because what better way to do that than get into the head of a smoking Casonova-in-training? *Gandalf, I hope you’re smiling really big right now. This is partially for you.*
The crux of the problem (there’s always one, isn’t there?) is that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve gone from thinking it should be a Western to noir to simple historical fiction. I don’t read the first two and have only read a few of the last. At this point, I sure have succeeded in getting myself out of my writing comfort zone—no faeries, cyborgs, or time changers in this one. Although, I now have the strong desire to throw in a banshee. Putting that urge aside, I sat down to give “The Businessman” a go on Monday. Well, that was a disaster. After an hour and 100 words, the character from the piece I wrote two years ago wasn’t recognizable. His strong voice and personality was gone. Like a thief in the night, he was replaced with my apparent fall-back descriptions and unimaginative prose. Well, shoot. That wasn’t what I was going for. Of course, now I want to go back to my faeries and time changers and such. But I won’t. Because I’m learning, and I want to sit in front of my notebook, miserable.
Here’s to getting out of our comfort zones! Happy writing!