Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

The other day I was preparing a blog for a guest appearance spot over at Nine Naughty Novelists. I was writing about adding real life to your stories. It got me thinking of the old adage, write what you know.I’ll admit I’ve written many stories based off of things I know.

Body Shots has a hero who is a singer. Music is my first love. Back in high school thru my early twenties I dated musicians. I know more about drums than I possibly need to. I’ve spent summer nights just attending concerts. When I was growing up in Upstate New York, every teen spent the summer at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was where all the good concerts took place. In 2003 when I was sowing my royal oats (I was celebrating my freedom from my ex), my best friend and I traveled all over to see concerts. In fact once at 5pm on a Saturday night we drove from Albany NY to the Comcast Center in MA (it was the Tweeter Center back then) to see Disturbed and Korn. A three hour drive one way AND we drove back home after the concert. Okay, so we were a little crazy what can I say.

Splashing Good Time the hero owns his own pool company. I’ve been in the business in the past and again in my present, someone close to me owns a few pool stores.

Gettin’ Lucky my heroine owns her own grocery store. My ex-husband and I owned a corner grocery store for almost ten years. And like Marcy, my heroine, the store was in a poor section of town.

Another story that will be published under my real name is about a woman’s journey to motherhood. She’s not taking the conventional way. After finding herself single, because her ex-fiancĂ© doesn’t want children, Hailey decides to take out an ad for a sperm donor.

Granted I’ve never taken out an ad, but I’ve journeyed through the fertility process – more times than I’d like to admit. So I can add those little details to my story that make it that much more believable. Obviously my heroine will get a HEA, but the bottom line is I KNOW fertility.

But should we always write what we know? I say NO. Eventually you’ll come to a point where you want to diversify and move in a new direction. To do this you’ll have to learn something new and experiment. That’s what I plan to do.

I’m embarking on a new chapter or journey in my writing career. I’m taking on a subject and genre that is relatively foreign to me. But guess what? I’m excited about it. I may stumble along the way and I may suck at it, but I won’t know unless I try.

I’ll be honest – I’m scared witless. But that’s the thrill. That’s how I know it’s the right time to do it.

I’ve become too comfortable in my writing. I haven’t challenged myself in a very long time. A friend has thrown down the gauntlet and I’ve accepted the challenge!

Do you only write what you know? If not, how do you step out of your comfort zone?

PS...If you get a chance please stop by Nine Naughty Novelists. I could use some support! Thanks.


  1. Amber you're going to do great!! Your senses are tingling because fate is calling! lol The punch line is... A writers always writes what they know! It can't be other wise. Even if the situation is completely fictional a writer will fill it with their own emotional reactions and life experience and it will end up reflecting real life.
    XXOO Kat

  2. It's exciting and a bit scary to try something new! I have no doubt that you'll have fun and create something wonderful!

  3. I think the advice 'write what you know' should be qualified by saying that 'new authors should write what they know''ll resonate with the reader. Perhaps more experienced authors should strive to reach headier heights if they want to continue to grow in the craft. I'm currently writing about a sociopath and I'm not one,(promise I don't have my fingers crossed behind my back when I say that...hmmm...they're notorious liars lol), never met one that I know of, and hope never to meet one. That's where research comes in, hour upon laborious hour of it. By the time I've finished I'll know as much ABOUT the sociopath as it's possible to know. What's left after that is to coat the knowledge in my own imagined experience and more research into how people who fell victim to a sociopath felt...unfortunately there aren't too many left standing to tell the tale.

    NB: No sociopaths were harmed in the writing of this comment and, of course, I was only referring to those sociopaths who commit heinous crimes and not to those who live and breathe amongst us every day without us ever knowing....
    Best of luck with your new project Amber.


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