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5 Signs You’re Stuck in Your Writing Comfort Zone

February 24, 2021-As we finish up with this month’s theme of smashing out of your comfort zone, we’ll look at some clear signs that your writing is stuck. Stop playing it safe and start taking the writing risks that get you excited to write again! The list below are some of the most common tells:

  1. You’re tired. You’re tired of writing, your ideas are tired, your plot lines and characters are tired,  and you’re writing the same old thing that you’ve always written.
  2. You’re doubting everything. You’re doubting yourself, your craft, your abilities as an author, and you’re doubting that you should have ever started writing in the first place
  3. Your answer is “no”. You rarely consider new and exciting ideas or avenues for your writing career to take. When you think about taking a risk in your writing or doing things differently than you normally would, your go to answer is always, “no”.
  4. You’re bored. Sitting down to write doesn’t excite you anymore. It seems like a chore more than a passion and you find yourself easily distracted and before you know it, you’ve procrastinated all day and you haven’t put a word on the page. When it comes to writing, you can take it or leave it. It leaves you feeling meh.
  5. You’re complaining. You blame everybody but yourself; agents, publishers, the market, editors, readers, and reviewers. Perhaps your work isn’t being lauded because it’s boring/safe/done to death.

If you’re experiencing anything on the above list, chances are you’re not taking any risks in your writing. Obviously what you’re doing isn’t working, so why not change things and step out of your comfort zone? If you want different results, you have to start acting and writing differently. Take the risk! What have you got to lose?

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Decisions and Beliefs

February 22, 2021– As we head into our final week talking about  breaking out of our comfort zones, we must explore decisions and beliefs. What we decide and what we believe are integral parts of our success; limiting beliefs do not serve us and will only shrink our experiences, self-esteem, and our inner voice. What exactly are limiting beliefs? A limiting belief is a state of mind, conviction, or belief that you think to be true that limits you in some way. This limiting belief could be about you, your interactions with other people, or with the world and how it works. Limiting beliefs can have a number of negative effects.

Let’s explore some of the most common limiting beliefs that I hear from authors all the time:

  1. I’m too old. What does age have to do with it? It’s nothing but a number.  It’s NEVER too late to follow your dreams, learn a new skill, or get to work on a book! Start today, you are NOT too old and you’ll be even older tomorrow, so what’s the difference? Write the book already! Decide to make time to write. Decide to do it and get started.
  2. I’m not educated enough. Nobody knows it all, and learning is a lifelong quest. But the difference is, as long as you’re willing to learn and upgrade your skills, you can learn anything! So you’re not educated…yet. You can enroll in online classes, continue your education through seminars, and pretty much find anything you want to know about, on the internet. Educate yourself, it’s your responsibility to keep growing as an author. Plus, when you learn more, you earn more. Decide what you need to work on and start today.
  3. I’ve already tried and failed. So? Have you ever accomplished anything perfectly on the first try? Think back to the first time that you tried to ride a bike; you probably needed to work on your balance and get into the path of motion, but all it took after that was a bit of practice and then you became a pro! The same goes for writing; I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’ll say it again, when I first started out writing, I had enough rejection letters to wallpaper the side of my house. EVERYONE has tried and failed; it’s the people who don’t try who should be worried. As long as your trying and failing forward, you’ll eventually reach your goals.

Stop limiting yourself! Stop the negative self-talk and decide to change  your beliefs about your abilities and what you’re capable of. You can do it!

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Ships Aren’t Built for That

February 10, 2021-“A ship is always safe at shore, but that’s not what it’s built for.”-Albert Einstein
As we continue our topic of stepping out of our comfort zones this month, I think of the above quote quite often. Did you know the same is true for authors? We’re safe keeping our words to ourselves, away from the world, but that’s not what we’re built for. The creation of any type of art, puts us in a vulnerable situation where people can judge what we’ve written and once the words are out there, we can never get them back. It’s an exhilarating process, but terrifying at the same time because we don’t know what to expect! Here are some tips for silencing your inner critic that will help you set sail to your writing destination:

  1. Remind yourself. You’ve been through a lot of things that have made you stronger, you’ve overcome challenges, and you’ve even surprised yourself at times with what you have been able to do. Remind yourself of this every time you’re afraid to put the words on the page, send in your manuscript, read the reviews of your work, and when you’re feeling hesitant about getting started. Reminding ourselves of how far we’ve come can be just the boost we need to get going!
  2. The 5×5 rule. I have a rule for my life; if it isn’t going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. Is anyone going to remember the bad review of your book five years from now? Are you going to be upset that the manuscript you sent in five years ago was never published? The point is, not to get upset, but to do something about it! Keep submitting, keep honing your craft, and keep working toward improving your writing skills because that  is what is going to make a difference in your life five years from now and beyond.
  3. Map it out. Ships have a destination and so should you for your writing life. What would you accomplish if you weren’t afraid? Where could you go in your writing? Where could your writing life take you? Where would you like it to lead? Map out a plan for yourself and your future and work on it every day. We don’t need fine details, but we need an overall view of where we are going so that we know when we get there. For example, someone wrote me an email a few weeks back that they wanted to become a best selling author, so they started with our Best Seller Bootcamp course, then they researched the genre they wanted to write in, and started writing. Now they are at the second draft stage and their work is really taking shape. If they had never left the harbor so to speak, they would still be stuck there. I applaud this person for taking the first steps to get where they want to go. You can do the same!

I hope that you’re enjoying our theme this month of stepping out of your comfort zone. Feel free to send in your questions and comments to pandapublising8@gmail.com. Also, check out our podcast on Podbean every Tuesday and Thursday. Download the app on the Google Play Store or iTunes to take us with you on the go!