Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

I was reading a great blog post (link below) where Jeff Goins talks about writing dangerously versus writing safely. And I could not agree more. As your motivational speaker, you know I’m all about flying above the comfort zone. And this includes writing. And I needed to hear Jeff’s message more than anyone. Because I will admit it – while I try not to play it safe on stage – sometimes I do play it safe in my writing. As a comedian, sometimes I hold back because I’m afraid a joke will be taken as offensive. And so I play it safe. I stay in a comfort zone. Yet it’s those moments when I don’t play it safe that I get to the most powerful of my stuff. So I agree with Jeff that it pays to write dangerously.

But let me give you one word of caution – there’s a time and a place to be dangerous. And you have to decide where that place is for you – where to draw the line. I can write dangerously on the subjects of religion, sex, or politics – and write myself out of a job. Because the stage is not the place to go to the dark side of my thoughts. I may have a facebook page that has people from church, work, and the community on it. I have to be careful about what I say when my pastor may be listening.  When I’m booked as a keynote speaker, they are not booking me to give a political commentary. And I have to honor my client’s goals and objectives in bringing me in.

I still agree with Jeff that writing dangerously is a good thing. I would just add that you’d better be willing to accept the consequences. I know plenty of speakers who have reached high levels of success because they speak their truth without worrying about how it will land. But I will say this – they accept the consequences.

But I will end by talking about writing as it applies to being a novel writer – getting a book published. Here, I do believe is the place to write dangerously – as long as you speak from an authentic place. Dangerous just to be dangerous might not have value. So when you are looking for your footing as a writer (and other things like speaking, etc., don’t apply) then I do think you should shoot right out of the safe zone. It’s when we hit the pain that we hit the truth.

Here’s the link to his great post: http://goinswriter.com/write-dangerous/

About

Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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Comments

  1. Hey Kelly – As you know I’m all about getting out of your comfort zone!  That’s where life is lived!  But you hit the nail on the head when you said there is a time and place to be dangerous.  One way to do this is to ask your client what they expect on stage.  Especially if they have heard you speak before, what stories do they want?  What do they want more/less of?  This helps me as a motivational speaker to ensure I’m not speaking myself out of a job!!!

  2. Why does Larry Winget come flying to my mind here?   Maybe because motivational speakers who really earn their money, understand this concept.

    I believe it was Randy Gage who said “Safe is the new risky.”  Right on, Randy

  3. Kelly, thanks for opening up this conversation and for sharing Jeff Goins’ article. My experience is that often, caution automatically floods my body when I’m considering moving out of my comfort zone and into what I perceive to be the danger zone… both on the stage and even here in cyberspace. That caution often restraining me from doing anything that might produce unwanted consequences. I often find myself considering whether my restraint is grounded in fear or prudence. Hmmm, I guess that’s a question I’ll continue asking myself as long as I plan on living in this world inhabited by you and our fellow motivational speakers. Your comments about writing authentically from the danger zone (at least that’s how I interpreted what you say here) really landed with me… I have a book coming out in the summer and prior to final edit, I sent it some colleagues asking if they thought letting the publisher publish my book would be career suicide… to which they responded “Absolutely… to clients you wouldn’t be a good fit for.”

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