Friday, January 7, 2011

The Safe Zone Isn't Safe

I like feeling safe. I crave the comfort of the familiar. When life gets thrown into chaos, I take steps to get in order as soon as possible.

I don't know about you, but the more I care about something, the scarier it is to pursue it. But to get the life we dream of, we have to leave our personal safety zones. Let's face it, the process can be terrifying. When we have big dreams, we have potentially big falls to go with them.

Sometimes it's easier to keep the dreams locked in our fantasies rather than risk failure. However, it's more devastating never to attempt to achieve our goals than to sit on the sidelines of safety.

Here are a few safe zones I had to step out of when I decided to pursue a writing career.

1. I was used to being a mother 24/7, but my kids aren't babies anymore. I spend less time with my children to focus on my writing. I utilize the time they're at school to write, but I also work in the afternoon.

2. I swallowed my fear and admitted to people that I'm a writer. I also have gotten very good at admitting I haven't been published and how long I've been trying to get published. Not easy on the pride, let me tell you!

3. I once dreaded letting anyone read my work. Sending chapters to my critique partners on a regular basis has made a huge difference in my writing. I never query until I've gotten feedback.

4. The thought of walking into a group of strangers intimidated me, but joining writer's groups has made an enormous impact on my writing. I've gotten so much advice. And now I'm able to return the favor as vice-president and webmaster of MVRWA, my local RWA group.

5. I was terrified of "putting myself out there online" but now I find it very rewarding. Starting this blog, designing a website, joining Facebook, Twitter, and recently Goodreads have helped me budget my time, learn new programs, and feel confident about my ability to promote myself and eventually my books. Of course, the greatest reward has been meeting so many wonderful writers.

6. Querying. Enough said.

I would love to say there are no safe zones left for me, but I'd be LYING. Here are some things I'm working on this year.

1. Staying active with my social networks even when it's uncomfortable or I'm gloomy.

2. Actively promoting myself even though I'm not published. I often think that I don't have anything to offer yet, but it's not true.

3. Pushing myself to meet daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. I had success with this in the fall, but it's a constant struggle.

4. Coming up with a business plan for 2011. The more I think of my writing as a business, the more seriously I take it. My husband and I have a date to discuss the details of my plan including my hours, my goals, expenses, our expectations about vacations and my time spent online.

So now you know some of my safe zones. What are your safe zones? What can you do to push yourself one step closer to your goal?

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. I like your #4 idea, creating a business plan around your writing. I'm systematic, crave structure but do get buried in too many details. I think that might be my safe zone!

  2. Lynn: I crave structure too, and it helps me meet my goals. I do agree with you though that sometimes it's easy to distract ourselves with details!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I wish you a spectacular 2011, a year of living fearlessly.

    And, back away from the truffles. ;)


  4. You are so organized:)))
    My plan is to not play it as safe with writing--writing the way I would really like to and working at getting it right.

  5. Lola: I'm afraid it's not possible to back away from the truffles. :) A wonderful new year to you too!

    Terri: Good for you! I'm adopting that attitude as well!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Hi Jill -

    My safe zone is non-fiction. It's where I'm most comfortable. I think I'll be on a learning curve forever with fiction.

    Fiction has yielded surprising benefits. My non-fiction work has gained greater acceptance because I'm applying fiction techniques to my devotionals and articles.

    Susan :)

  7. I LOVE that you think of your writing as a business because so do I. I completely believe that is a necessary detachment we need to make. Clearly it's a business, these are not my fantasy's I'm writing down for the world to see, they are structured story lines designed for an audience. Hence, a business. That's been a huge buzz word of mine for a while.

    My goals are being redefined right now, which is a good thing. I'm also a strong believer in staying fluid and flexible especially when you have a family to think about. I really hope to tighten some screws this year. I'm excited for the both of us!

  8. Sounds like you and I are a lot alike. :) I have similar goals and plans to "stretch" myself in 2011.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Susan JR: I can see where using fiction writing techniques would amp up your non-fiction. I'm excited for you!

    T. Anne: It is a business--a fun and fulfilling business! My day planner is a simple, thin three-ring binder. One section is my current business plan for easy reference. Knowing I hold myself accountable to everything in there keeps me motivated. 2011 is going to be a great year for you!!

    Karen: Yay! I want to hear how your stretching goes!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


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