The last three posts make up the beginning of a piece of writing I’ve been toying with for quite a long time. It’s actually the start of a novel I wrote about four or five years ago. Every now and again, I get the whole thing out again, have a look and wonder whether I ought to have a go at rewriting it, or whether I should simply shelve it and move on to something new. I’m still not sure about that, but I thought it would be good to post it here in the interests of take a step outside the comfort zone.
In the past, I know I’ve been fairly useless at getting outside my comfort zone – in terms of writing, at least. I’m much more inclined to settle down in it, put my feet up, maybe make a nice cup of tea. I’m not very good at putting my work “out there”: in spite of good intentions I’ve even chickened out about posting any fiction here up until now. Maybe it’s partly because I’ve never studied creative writing, or even attended a class, so I haven’t entirely got my head around the idea of standing up and acknowledging ownership of my work. Maybe it’s also because I’ve spent so long studying literature which can be a bit of a dangerous thing to do if you want to write yourself.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this a lot of the time: even the best of us get The Fear when it comes to putting our work out there in the world. Evidently even Derrida suffered from anxieties about his writing: “moments of fear” when he came over all neurotic in the middle of the night and was tempted to burn all his papers.
Having said that though, I do think it’s important to get used to the idea of leaving the comfort zone. Writing this blog has been a good step in the right direction: it’s helped me to get back into the habit of writing regularly, but more importantly, to get used to sharing what I write with others and to cope with the scary stuff (see here and here). It’s also taught me that not everything I write has to be carefully worked out and immaculately put together. In fact, I’ve found that sometimes the best things come out of just having a go and not worrying too much. It also makes it a lot more fun, which has to be the point in the end really, doesn’t it?
Anyway posting this has been a good start. Now I just have to keep going and get used to the idea of stepping outside my comfort zone. Or as Derrida himself puts it, I just need to “do what must be done.”
(The excellent picture above is by Keri Smith from her blog wish jar)