Moving Out of Your Writing Comfort Zone

My husband loves to wash dishes.  It’s not one of my favorite chores.  I like scrubbing sinks.  He doesn't seem to notice the scum at the bottom of the sink.  We have found a comfortable division of household labor. Generally we’re both responsible for chores we enjoy, or at least we’re able to avoid the ones we hate. 

Writers aren't always that lucky. There are many aspects of a writer’s life, and most writers spend a majority of their time in the role that is in their comfort zone.

Here are just some of the pieces of the process.

    • Generating ideas
    • Research
    • Writing the first draft
    • Revision
    • Submission
    • Marketing

The list could go on….

I recently heard Linda Sue Park, Newberry Award winning author of A Single Shard, talk about the role of Writer vs. Author. She felt marketing, speaking engagements and other promotional activities required her author’s hat, and the actual writing called for her writer’s hat.  She seems to have balanced both roles well.

I like the early stages of working on a manuscript.  That’s my sweet spot.  My critique group keeps me moving through the revision process.  I realized I needed to push myself to submit my work.  The realization alone was not going to make it happen for me, so I have allotted 2 to 3 hours a month for that piece of the writing process. 

Where’s your sweet spot and where do you need to push yourself?  Once you know where you need an extra push, schedule it into your writing life.  Amazing things happen when we move out of our comfort zone!

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach who has helped writers achieve their goals. For more information check out   or folllow her at:  


mooderino said...

There are so many different facets to writing, not all of which I enjoy. Have to suck it up though.


Karen Cioffi said...

Mary Jo, I think I find writing endings most difficult. I do enjoy the marketing aspect of writing, although it's so time consuming.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Some pieces you can hire someone to help, e.g. marketing, editing

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Sometimes writers leave their comfort zone to try new genres and I think that's great. A warning here, though. Read in that genre. Take a class in the specifics of that genre. Writing is not writing is not writing. Each kind of writing makes different demands on its authors.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right ( it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner.

D. Jean Quarles said...

You are so smart to figure out how to keep yourself moving forward with even the things that are challenging. I've taken note and will try to find similar ways I can get the same results. Great post!

Magdalena Ball said...

That's a really helpful way of looking at the writing process Mary Jo. I really enjoy revision - making the existing story shine. I find the initial writing a difficult process. Being clear about that in my min helps a lot though because I know that the fun stuff will come if I work through the initial drafting slog.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I agree Maggie. Knowing what we really enjoy, helps us get through the more trying parts.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Without a plan, I've been know to ignore pieces I don't like for years

Linda Wilson said...

I enjoy the revision process as well but have to be careful not to get lost in it. I can spend hours re-writing yet losing sight of my outline. Then I must go back to my outline and notes and make sure I'm sticking to the basics. Right now I'm working on my first book, a mystery for 7-9 years olds, which has become my teacher (after taking the ICL book course and learning lots of other excellent advice). I'm hoping subsequent books will go faster so I can avoid the pitfalls I've experience in my first project.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Congratulations on tackling your first book. I find every project has its own timeline. Some I thought I'd whip right through have taken forever, and others seem to fly.

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