Obstacle #14: Comfort Zone(s)

Hellosankyuugoodbye. Nah, I’m kidding, although that is what some students say to me in the hallways, go figure. Happy Friday? I feel like my stress levels have only epically increased all week…

Okay so today’s topic: comfort zone(s), and how stepping out of them feels like climbing Mt Fuji. (Actually, I won’t know how that feels until August, so I might have to revise this later.) I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but I kept forgetting every week. I’d write something else and remember on the weekend “wasn’t there another topic–?”

So hah, I finally remembered and wrote it down! Step 1 accomplished. Onto step 2, the explaining?

Everyone has comfort zones, whether we acknowledge them or not. I feel like mine include avoiding writing characters who differ from  me, as in, (way) older or younger and possibly any male character, not to mention someone with different origins than me. I can write them, but if you’ve seen the size of my library– well, you know how small it is right now…

I don’t mean to say I never write those characters (although I’m pretty sure I haven’t really tried very hard yet, except for fanfictions when I wrote my characters as Japanese), I mean to say I feel like what I would write wouldn’t be ‘authentic’ (whatever that means). I don’t really remember what it feels like to be a kid, but being around them all day is a good reminder. I certainly don’t know what it feels like to be old (and wise?), or to have kids and be a parent, or to be part of a minority, or or or…

So as a writer, what’s my job? To read a lot about anything and everything? How much research do I need? How much is left up to imagination? I should blend both, right?

Up to now it’s mostly been basing my characters off personal experiences, people I know or have talked to and experiences I’ve read about. But I feel like that’s not enough, and wondering how others do it. Please tell me!

Other comfort zones I haven’t crossed yet: writing other genres, although that’s kind of ironic because 75% of the time I don’t exactly know what genre I write… Pretty sure I don’t write nonfiction, anything historical, or romance.

If I have more comfort zones (let’s face it, I probably do), I don’t think I’m aware of them yet. So tell me what you have trouble with and maybe I’ll find myself nodding along. If you have any experiences, tips or comments feel free to share. :3

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