How Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone Improved My Writing
Try something new to enhance your writing process
by Joanne Troppello
“In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing.” — Langston Hughes
I’ve been writing for a long time—poems, short stories, books, and freelance copywriting. However, I’ve always had the problem of feeling trapped, like my writing wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t open up and be more vulnerable to readers.
Outside my comfort zone
Through the years, I have learned how to step outside my comfort zone.
That has happened even more once I started writing articles on Medium. I suddenly had a larger audience than I had at my blog. I began connecting with other readers and writers and actually getting a lot more comments on articles.
My writing was basically the same, but I was on a different platform that afforded me the opportunity to be visible to more people. That meant I needed to adjust some things like improve my confidence level and augment vulnerability.
1. Get over myself
The first step in my journey to step outside my comfort zone was to get over myself and all feelings of inadequacy as a writer. I needed to truly embrace the process of writing first and turning off my internal editor.
Otherwise, fear took over and I thought no one would want to read what I wrote.
I needed to acknowledge that my first draft would probably be bad and need editing. That’s part of the writing process. That’s okay. All that meant was that I would need to edit after writing the first draft.
When I got over myself, I was able to see things that I hadn’t seen before like overusing the same word or not writing in active voice or not writing concise content in a reader-friendly format for today’s busy readers.
2. Being more vulnerable
Then I needed to move on to becoming more vulnerable. That’s the biggest lesson that I’ve learned from writing on Medium.
Articles on the platform that perform significantly better than others are ones that have a high vulnerability quotient. The author dug deep and wasn’t ashamed or afraid to share deeper facets of themselves.
I found this to be true when I wrote one of my favorite articles that was published in the Illumination publication here, Why the Symbolism of Sunflowers Resonated with Me – Staying focused on finding the sunshine in my life.
Writing that article was a journey toward discovering how to become more vulnerable and a change in my perspective. Shortly after writing that article, I started a YouTube channel, Sunflower Quest which was a huge jump outside my comfort zone.
It was something I felt that I needed to do. However, I was very scared to do it.
Starting that channel seems to have helped even more as I have become more vulnerable in my writing. I’ve read some of my poetry in videos and will be interviewing people with inspirational stories. It’s been a journey that has enhanced my writing process.
Maybe you are already really confident in your writing. Maybe you’re not. You may be a writer who has mastered the art of being vulnerable in your writing. Maybe you’re not.
Wherever you find yourself in your writing journey, just remember that reader engagement increases when you write confidently and with vulnerability.
Previously published on Medium.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.