This morning, on Facebook, Jeannine Atkins posted a quote by someone named Josh Simpson. The quote was:
“It’s important for an artist to find his comfort level—and stay out of it.”
I laughed out loud. Why? Because I had just said to my husband that this morning, I was going to spend an hour with my YA WIP, the one that is distressing and depressing me. Yes, despite the fact that it’s making me feel that way. I worked on it for a while yesterday, and the image I took away was a picture of me, spinning in circles in the same tiny space in the middle of a desert. Yep, there’s me, in the center of a little dust storm, just burying myself deeper and deeper into a tight, barren spot.
Fun? I don’t think so.
But this quote hits it. What am I supposed to do, quit? Boy, there are parts of me that want to. I’ve been musing a bit about my goals/direction for next year–what I want to attain, and it flashed through my head that next year may be the year of a decision about this book, about whether I DO keep working on it, or whether I put it aside until what…until I’m ready to handle it? Until I get a lightening-bolt breakthrough from somewhere unknown? And maybe that’s what I will decide.
It’s not what I want to do, though, and it doesn’t feel right to my gut. Yes, it’s partly that whole doctrine against quitting that I was raised with, but there’s more. If I quit, where am I supposed to go next? Back to that comfort zone? Some safe place where I’m not struggling with my writing?
You know, safety is not all that comfortable either, in my experience. It contains a lot of looking out at all the cool things going on around you…without you. It comes with some knowledge that you’re backing off, letting the fear control you, keeping away from some goal you really want.
No, I think there’s only one thing to do when you’re out of your comfort zone. Keep pushing through. At some point, I think–I hope–you push past that plateau you’re stuck at (the one with all the sand and cacti and circling buzzards), and you reach a new perspective. One that comes with the things you actually did learn in that stuck place, one that has a vista with maybe a palm tree and some water, or a little peak with pine trees and deer. And space to move and actually create.
For a while anyway. Until you hit that next uncomfortable zone.
Rinse and repeat.
Thanks, Jeannine, for the reminder that there is a reason to keep pushing on. *Hugs!*