Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

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.

Holy cr*p.

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!

About Maggie
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!


Maggie Nash said...

Thanks so much for having me here today Lisabet! I'm looking forward to hearing what things people have done to move out of their routines and mix things up a bit!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Maggie,

Welcome to Beyond Romance!

You know what forces me out of my comfort zone? The need for promotion. I really hate to run around tooting my own horn. Every time I start to send out some announcement to my email lists, I find myself thinking, do people REALLY want to know about this? Aren't I just bothering them?

But I force myself to do it because - well, it has to be done. And I guess it's getting a bit easier.

Now I'm off to announce your post to my lists...!

Anne said...

I'm going on vacation later today, Yay! Vacation. Boo! Flying. Flying definitely takes me out of my comfort zone. When we hit turbulence, I want to throw myself on the floor and dig my nails in because it feels like that will help keep us up. I will be taking xanax. It's also supposed to rain and thunder today and one of the scariest plane rides (pre-xanax)was to Argentina in a terrible storm over mountains. People were vomiting and praying.

Want to travel though, so I suck it up with a little help.

Debby said...

I am terrible at parties. I always have nothing to say. I have to force myself to go.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Victoria Roder said...

Hi Maggie,
Enjoyed your post. Nuns, guilt...
I work at a church and I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a kissing scene. Big step for me. I kept thinking, will I get fired when they find out I'm a writer?

Anonymous said...

Commenting on blogs takes me out of my comfort zone. I usually avoid them, because I don't feel that I always use the right words.

Gabby said...

For a long while I've been at home helping my mom with my brothers and trying to help keep the house in a decent condition and even though I don't like to clean always doing certain things in a timely manner was just fine for me.

Also for the longest time when I wasn't at school I was at home doing my small part to help my mom and keep her sane, in the past several months or so I've really stepped up to the plate so to speak.

This summer though I'm kind of reaching a milestone, tomorrow I'll be setting up my schedule for my first summer job at Cedar Point. I'll be honest when I say that I'm kind of proud of myself but I'm also kind of nervous this'll be my first full time paying job and I'm a little scared that I might screw up.

For me finally having an official job is in and of itself moving out of a comfort zone especially if you've just been doing volunteer work for a little while, getting this job has really helped me to open up to people though and I'm starting to think that things might get a little better from now on!

Great post Ms. Nash!

mcv said...

I wish I could be shaken out of my comfort zone! I would love to embrace change but feel I am restricted by the horrendous real estate market. My husband and I are now empty-nesters and would love to sell our home and have a simpler life-style. But with the conditions now, we would have to practically GIVE our house away to sell. So, we have decided to wait a few years and see if conditions improve.
In the meantime, we have decided to have as much fun as possible so we won't dwell on the negative. We go to the movies every week, we go out to eat a couple of times a week at nice restaurants, and take a couple of vacations each year. And of course, I read exciting books!
mcv111 at hotmail dot com

Tameka said...

I'm trying to be less of a hermit. My comfort zone is staying home and just being with the family. Now my friends have got me joining a online dating service. I've gone out with some the guys and I try to go out with the girls at least once a week. I have to say I'm having fun. Lol !!!

Maggie Nash said...

I'm with you on that one Lisabet. I want people to get to know me, but I don't want to be in their faces so much that it turns them's a tough thing to put yourself out there.

Maggie Nash said...

That sounds scary Anne! I hope the trip is wonderful! Vacations are wonderful....*sigh*....wish I could come with you! Thanks for posting!

Maggie Nash said...

I can relate to that Debby, although over the years it has gotten a lot easier for me. Now you can't shut me up! LOL

Maggie Nash said...

Hi Victoria!

My dh works for the Catholic Church and he lives in fear that people will find out his wife writes Erotic Romance! Thank goodness for pseudonyms!

Maggie Nash said...

Gabby - congratulations on your first paid job! You deserve to be proud of yourself as firstly jobs are hard to come by, so you must have impressed them, and secondly - it's scary moving out of the familiar to the unfamiliar. All the best for your new life! You won't look back now :-)

Maggie Nash said...

See - you are moving out of your comfort zone and changing. You're having FUN! Good for you and all the best that the market picks up and you can get a good price. And keep reading those exciting books!

Maggie Nash said...

Hey Tameka! Those online dating places can be life changing for some people. My sister met her husband online, my brother met his wife online...and now my son met his current girlfriend online and they are all very very happy. So keep plugging along with it and you never know - the right person might come along! Just don't forget all the safety tips on meeting for the first time!

sharon baker said...

Yout posts are always so great as well as yoyur books. I so look forward to your emails.

PaParanormalFan said...

Hello Ladies,

Lisabet, I hope your your leg is doing much better & you are recovering well!

Thank You Lisabet for hosting Maggie Nash on your Blog,bBeyond Romance & Thank You Maggie for taking time out of your busy day to spend time with Lisabet's Fan, sharing about yourself & your Great Guest Blog, "Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone".

Hmmmmmm what have I done lately to take me out of my comfort zone???
Well this is an easy one because it is very fresh in my memory & also because I don't know how I did with it...let me explain....
Lisabet had a Guest Post, "Interlude on Mulholland Drive" on Eternal Press on May 1st. She posted an EXTEMELY HOT scene of one of her Books, "Ruby's Rules" I haven't read the book...& we had to finish the scene. Sooooo for the very first time, I wrote a veryyyy naughty ending to that particular scene.
So this would be out of my comfort zone because I have never wrote anything erotic before, especially posting online for others to see...& I don't know how I did??? If it stinks or if it was Ok?

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway to win an eBook copy of your Erotic Action/Adventure Story, "THE RELIC". Thank You.

Take Care Ladies & Stay Naughty,
PaParanormalFan (Renee’ S.)
paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

Natasha D said...

This year I have TOTALLY gone out of my comfort zone and enrolled at UTas (University of Tasmania) going for a BCA (3 yrs of full time study). Not that uncomfortable you think? I haven't been in a classromm situation for 42 years and most of the students in my classes are 1/3rd my age! It is daunting but I'm loving it - I think. LOL

Maggie Nash said...

Hi Sharon..I am assuming you mean Lisabet, but thanks for dropping by on my post! I agree about Lisabet's posts!

Maggie Nash said...

Hi Renee
Thanks so much for commenting on my blog post. It's quite empowering to write outside of your normal comfort zone isn't it! Don't worry too much about whether or not it is good or not - you did it! That means the next one will be easier :-)

Maggie Nash said...

Hi Natasha! Wow! Congratulations! Good for you :-) In my day job I teach at University, and most of my students are young enough to be my they're all at least 30 years younger than me! I find it keeps me young! All the best with your degree :-)

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello to all! I've been letting sweet Maggie handle your comments, but I have to say I'm really impressed by all your answers. I wish every one of you new and enriching experiences as you step outside your comfort zone!

(Now I've got to go check out Renee's end to my scene over at Eternal Press LOL!)

Maggie Nash said...

Thank you so much for having me here Lisabet, and also thanks to everyone who took the time to leave such wonderful replies to my question. Using the random number generator I have chosen the winner of a copy of my action adventure book THE RELIC...

and the winner is....

Natasha D!

Congratulations Natasha! Email me and I will send you your prize :-)

Post a Comment