By Maggie Nash (Guest Blogger)
Imagine a life without any surprises. Each day runs a similar routine. We don’t feel the need to challenge our beliefs, or take chances.
It’s an interesting part of humanity where many of us don’t like change. Trundling along in life with a familiar routine doing the same things, reading the same books and eating the same foods gives us comfort. On the other hand, change makes us uneasy. We feel unsettled and stressed, even if we are embracing the changes we are making.
It’s amazing in just how many ways we cling to the concept of comfort. Take this for instance - how many of you always use the same cubicle in the bathroom at work? You’d be surprised to hear that a very high percentage of us always use the same one.
Raises hand - second one on the left for me!
How boring is that? So what does it take to move out of that comfort zone?
As a writer I’ve been challenged to make different choices many times, and to be honest, sometimes it’s pretty scary. Take writing sex scenes for instance.
When I first started writing I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. My favourite books to read were romantic suspense, so that’s what I wrote. I wrote this exciting tale of adventure. It was a roller coaster with all the boxes ticked, or so I thought. There was a woman in jeopardy with a hunky hero who charges in to save her from the evil villain. I thought I’d nailed it but I was wrong. What I completely missed in my first drafts was that sexual energy that raises the stakes in the both the growth of the relationship, and tension of the story. One of my crit partners sent my manuscript back to me with one word emblazoned on dozens of pages. MORE!
So how to do that? I needed to move the characters to the next level, and that included shaking them up. I added a scene from a strip club where my heroine witnesses a scene her privileged upbringing would never have shown her. I made her fidget and not know where to look, but still be unable to look away. I raised her heartbeat. I made her sweat. I blasted her out of her comfort zone, and at the end of that scene she wasn’t the same person she had been before it began.
Writing that scene was a big watershed moment for me. It was the prelude to my first sex scene. The heroine wasn’t the only one changed by it. I realised I needed to continue to move up the relationship and they needed to have smoking hot monkey sex.
I’d never written a sex scene before, even though I’d read hundreds of them so this was totally taking me to a different place. I went to Catholic school. Nuns. Church. Confession and guilt. This was naughty!
So in my usual cautious way I planned for it. No one else was at home. I lit several scented candles, poured myself a long glass of chilled wine, and played the epitome of schmaltzy romantic music – yes, you guessed it – Ravel’s Bolero. Then I sat down and wrote it.
Like my heroine, I felt anxious, uncomfortable, my heart rate rose and I started sweating. I too smashed my way out of my comfort zone. And you know what? It felt wonderful and I’ve never looked back.
So at the end of the day it’s not that difficult to move out of your comfort zone. You might not be writing a major sex scene. It could be something as simple as changing your routine and making a different choice. Just do it. The rewards are amazing.
For a chance to win an eBook copy of my erotic action/adventure story THE RELIC tell us what you’ve done lately to take you out of your comfort zone!
I’m Maggie Nash and I write romance novels. Some of them are suspenseful, some are pretty hot, and some of them are a little bit kinky, but what they all have in common is a fun, romantic ending. I started writing more by accident than design when one day I ran out of books to read so I started writing one myself. And, boy, am I glad I did, because writing has become a huge part of my life. I live with my family on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales in Australia. You can find me most days having a cappuccino at the beach!