Writing outside of my comfort zone

Last Friday, a group of friends invited us to go skating.

A lifelong skater, I jumped (absolutely pun intended) at the opportunity to get back on the ice. For me, the rink is a place that feels like home. I love the crisp air and the feeling of my blades on the ice.

For my fiancé, it was a completely different train of thought. Having not been on skates for years – and admitting not knowing how to stop – he was nervous to say the least. Nonetheless, the day came, he rented a pair of skates and stepped on the ice. The first few strides were wobbly and I can only imagine how intimidating it was to watch everyone else whip by while he was struggling just to stand up straight.

It took him more than a few minutes to get all the way around, he kept his eyes on the ice for fear of falling, and he hung onto the boards the entire time – but he did it. The next time around, he moved a little faster and relied on the boards a little less. By the time the hour was up, he was doing slow but steady laps by himself, his confidence noticeably improved.

He even said he wanted to go back again for regular skating sessions so he could continue to get better – and maybe learn how to stop. His attitude impressed me – he was completely out of his comfort zone but he didn’t back out. In fact, he embraced it. And what bad things came of it? Nothing – in fact, he gained confidence and a potential new hobby. (A gal can always hope!)

It made me think about my own experience with writing. Yes, my Dad’s story has an inspirational component around his organ donation and that’s easy to write about, but there are a lot of dark segments around my relationship with him, his demons and my own that are uncomfortable to share. Without those pieces however, the story just doesn’t make sense.

Staying in my comfort zone would mean dilly dallying for a few more years and shying away from the pieces that truly add pivotal context to the book. But I need to write those pieces for my audience and for the overall story. Most importantly, I need to write them for myself.

So, thanks British, for the unintended perspective. Now when can we go skating again?




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