Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone (part 4): Unordinary inspiration

Hi, and welcome to the RADblog! I’m Rani Divine, back for the rest of the year to talk to you about whatever I choose. You’re at my mercy, friends. But don’t worry; we’ll have some fun.

For the next five weeks, I’ll be talking to you about comfort zones, and why they’re both a good thing and a bad thing. We’ll also be looking at a few exercises I’ve come up with to help you get outside your comfort zone and to grow as the amazing writer you are. We’re all in a learning process, every step of the way.

By now we’ve decided that though comfort zones can be a good thing, they can also be very bad for our writing careers if we don’t find a way to break out of them—and we’ve started looking at exercises to help us get outside those comfort zones and grow ourselves as writers. Because if we’re not growing, we’re only staying stagnant. And nobody wants that.

 

Comfort Zones: Inspired by the unordinary

 

We all have those things we’re inspired by, the things we go to when we’re looking for inspiration, the places we turn when we’re feeling a little drained and need some new ideas—and today, I’m challenging you to think beyond those places, and start looking in some places you might not have thought to look before.

As per usual, I’ll use myself as an example, here. When it comes to my finding inspiration, I tend to lean toward music. But I’m very particular in the music I choose to listen to, when I’m looking for inspiration. I’m not just out for any music, any tune with a good beat that’ll get my head bopping and my mind churning. No, I’m picky. I need instrumental music. Epic music, if you’ve got any. Something from Two Steps From Hell or Future World Music, if you’d like me to be even more particular than that. Why? Because I don’t particularly like music with lyrics. Lyrics tend to draw me out of my writing and into the song, into the words the artist chose and what those words meant for that artist, at the time. And I don’t often like where that takes my writing.

 

For you, it might not be music. It might be a particular place you go, when you’re writing. It might be a thing you do, a thing you watch—it could be any number of things. And I can nearly guarantee that there’s a long list of things we don’t like doing, hearing, or being in the presence of, while we’re writing. And those are the things I want to challenge you about.

Those things you don’t like? I want you to try to channel them. I want you to focus them, hone them, and write from them. I want you to allow yourself to be inspired by them, to whatever end.

Why? Because, yet again, someday, you might need to. You might need to draw inspiration from that annoying dog barking across the street, from your friend’s favorite television show, or, yes, from music with lyrics.

 

This is something I’ve been working on a lot, as of late. I’ve been listening to music with lyrics, and doing my best to write, to be inspired by those words or by that beat or by whatever straw I can grasp while I’m listening to that music. And you know what? I really don’t like much of what I’ve written this way. But there’ve been a few rays of light, a few things I’ve absolutely loved, a few things I’m so proud of that I’m glad I never stopped doing this.

Which is why I want you to try it, too. Try it. See what comes of it. Sure, you might be like me and discover a multitude of reasons why you really, really, really don’t like that thing… but you also might find, somewhere along the way, that you can write something pretty darn epic when you let yourself be inspired by something you don’t even like.

And that, I think, makes it all worth it.

 

Rani Divine
Associate Editor, etc.