You’ve heard the advice: Get out of your comfort zone! Indeed, life takes on a different quality when challenging yourself to go beyond what feels easy now. And if you have writing goals and publishing dreams, you probably realize that achieving them requires stretching past your current competence and confidence levels, and that can feel uncomfortable.
It’s no wonder many writers prefer to remain in their comfort zone—one where things always remain the same, they don’t have to do anything different or hard, and they don’t have to show up big. It’s just…well…comfortable. And comfortable equates to easy.
Most of us like easy, right?
But remaining in that comfortable state is a long-term writing and publishing plateau existence. You may have worked hard for the comfort you enjoy, and you should enjoy it! But there’s more to a writing life past that point. There’s another publishing peak to ascend.
You know that. You feel it.
That’s your soul whispering to you…even pushing you…to do and be more…to fulfill your potential as a writer and author.
You probably already realize that you are meant for more. And something more exists for you…if you push past the plateau and give up the comfortable writing life.
Credit Yourself for Creating Comfortable
Comfortable is an achievement for sure. So be sure to give yourself credit for creating comfortable. Unfortunately, many writers never get to that point. Instead, they remain caged and struggle to alter their circumstances and achieve higher levels of success.
But admit it… A comfortable writing life is not your endpoint. (You know that, or you wouldn’t be reading this post.) The plateau where you now write is not the height of your publishing potential.
Your soul knows that. It wants more. And to achieve that, you must challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.
So how do you do that while knowing you will feel uncomfortable in the process? I can think of three ways.
Discomfort is Temporary
First and foremost, know that any discomfort you feel while getting out of your writing comfort zone is temporary. Honestly, it is!
For example, imagine that you want to wake up earlier every morning and write for two hours. The first few days feel hard. You drag yourself out of bed and feel grumpy and groggy for the first 30 minutes. But by the second week, waking up earlier becomes easier; you swing your legs over the edge of the bed, rub your eyes, and don’t even consider getting back under the covers. Not only that, you begin to see some progress with your writing. By week three, you are eager to meet the day and inspired to start writing after the alarm clock rings. Two months later, you can’t imagine not getting up early, and you have a stack of manuscript pages to show for your effort.
Or consider building your author platform on social media. At first, you might feel scared and awkward posting anything, let alone going live.” However, if you decide to do this consistently—maybe two or three times per week, by the second or third week, you will start feeling more confident and courageous. After about a month, using social networks to create an audience for your work will begin to feel enjoyable, fulfilling, and even exciting.
In both cases, by the second or third month, you may have reached a new plateau you may later choose to move beyond. (Stay there too long, and you enter your comfort zone again.) In the meantime, you have reasonably quickly pushed through your discomfort. And that process allowed you to achieve something you desired.
So, when you decide to move out of your writing or publishing comfort zone, commit to whatever discomfort you encounter for at least 30 days. By then, the discomfort will fade away and become a thing of the past.
Second, challenge yourself to move out of your writing and publishing comfort zone somehow. Challenge is one of the human drives. In fact, humans (including writers) thrive on challenge because it helps us learn, grow, change, and move toward our potential.
Taking on a challenge moves you out of your comfort zone quickly. No wonder you can find so many challenges online for things like weight loss, manifestation, writing books in a month, and accessing your intuition. Most transformational coaches and experts know that people rise to them and want to continue pursuing excellence afterward.
Also, the word “challenge” easily replaces “discomfort.” Discomfort can feel like a struggle—or you might believe you will struggle if you are uncomfortable. But when you reframe the discomfort as challenge, your mind sees this as something positive.
The brain—specifically the reptilian brain—is more willing to accept a challenge than discomfort or struggle because it is wired to help you avoid pain or anything dangerous (i.e., anything different). It constantly conducts cost-benefit analyses on your choices and actions, evaluating how uncomfortable it feels to exert effort and if it is worth doing so.
However, the ventral striatum, a brain region that helps process rewarding outcomes, can be helpful when moving out of your comfort zone. It becomes more strongly activated when you achieve something through higher rather than lower effort. And studies show that you can learn to enjoy the journey, regardless of the destination or the discomfort level, because the brain perceives the effort itself as rewarding.
So, don’t focus on the discomfort but on the effort you are making to become an author and the reward you will enjoy when you reach the next summit.
Enjoy Being Outside Your Comfort Zone
Third, decide to be someone who enjoys getting outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to choose to start sky diving or bungee jumping if those things feel scary and seem to have little reward for you (although, to some people, they do.) Simply become someone who thrives on stretching, changing, and growing as a writer, publisher, and author.
Then do the things that allow you to accomplish that. For instance, you might learn a new skill, begin submitting queries to agents or editors, create daily Instagram reels, or start a blog.
I realize you might wonder how you suddenly become such a person. Simple: change your identity.
How do you do that? First, decide to be a writer who thrives when uncomfortable—who finds that state exciting, enjoyable, and rewarding because they know they will be better off for having experienced it. Then, do the things that person would do.
By deciding to be such a writer, you will much more easily develop the habits and mindsets that align with your “new self.” For example, you can stop telling yourself you hate discomfort and want to stay somewhere comfortable. Instead, tell yourself you enjoy discomfort because it helps you get off your plateau and climb the next writing or publishing mountain.
Neuroscience has proven that by choosing a new identity—and thinking and behaving in alignment with that identity—you create neural pathways that support that state of being. Thus, if you start telling yourself you are someone who thrives on the journey to your next level of human potential, prosperity, health, relationship, or whatever you desire, that journey will become more comfortable every day.
The journey will also become enjoyable, exciting, and fulfilling. And the next time you find yourself on a writing or publishing plateau enjoying your comfortable life, you’ll want to get a little uncomfortable again and recreate that charged-up writing and publishing life.
How do you withstand the discomfort of getting out of your writing or publishing comfort zone? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post on social media or with a writing friend.
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