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Monday, November 20, 2023

For the love of consolation zones (and what’s juuuust exterior of them).


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These days, I’ve been fascinated with cusps.

Edges. Borders. Margins. That shimmering line the place the acquainted and the unfamiliar meet, the place what we all know turns into what we don’t know.

There was a comic book going round a couple of years in the past that confirmed two white circles sitting far aside on a darkish background. One was labelled, “Your consolation zone,” and the opposite was labelled, “The place the magic occurs.”

I hated that factor. Each time I noticed it, I felt a rush of futility and exhaustion.

The message appeared to be that magic was on the market, far, far-off; a distant planet you would possibly hope to achieve for those who go on an extended, uncomfortable journey.

I disagree.

I feel that with regards to writing, a consolation zone is an amazing present.

It’s an accomplishment to have the ability to discover any consolation within the tumult of artistic expression. When you have a type you like to put in writing in, a subject that flows and flows, a writing apply you don’t need to struggle — please have a good time that, take delight in it, and hold on the market as a lot as you’ll be able to.

For those who don’t have that area but, after all. We’re taught that writing must be agonizing. We’re taught that we’re not ok earlier than we start. Your first step is to search for a scrappy little patch of one thing like consolation after which see for those who can let it slowly develop. Firm helps. Small steps too. That is the time for ease, curiosity, and radical self-forgiveness.

As soon as we have now that place, we are able to begin to discover what’s past it. That shimmering line. The place the place the acquainted and the unfamiliar meet, the place we might be snug and uncomfortable with out selecting between them. To me, that’s the place the magic occurs.

Right here’s a thought experiment.

Let’s begin with content material. What’s straightforward so that you can write about? What tends to come back while you begin to write? What do you like to speak about, to ask about? Relating to materials, that’s your consolation zone.

Then, what’s method too onerous to put in writing about, however you continue to need to? Too taboo, too private, too overwhelming? That’s your danger zone. Don’t attempt to go there but.

Then, what’s within the center? Can you are feeling it? What’s the gentlest danger, the smallest, most take-able step simply barely out of consolation? That’s your edge. And it’s the place I feel you’ll have probably the most thrilling and sustainable writing experiences.

That’s simply content material, you too can discover this for writing targets, writing practices… and naturally this doesn’t simply apply to writing! We will discover that edge zone for something artistic — relationship, adorning, parenting, journey, friendship, dinner… We will at all times ask: What’s straightforward, what’s too onerous, and what’s proper within the center?

Two sensible issues then:

  • I made you a video! This can stroll you thru exploring your consolation zone, danger zone, and edge zone in writing proper now, and (I hope!) provide you with some path for subsequent steps.

  • Now we have so many lovely workshops, that can assist you discover your consolation, and while you’re prepared, to stroll beside you to your edge.

OK remaining thought…

There are moments when a pole vault into the unfamiliar might be exhilarating. The comedian wasn’t solely improper. There’s magic on the market. However I’m fascinated by serving to you write inside the realities of your life. At the moment.

Leaving our consolation zones is feasible, however it’s a alternative, not a prerequisite, to creating necessary and delightful issues.

At the moment, I’m wishing you each ease and exhilaration within the stability that’s best for you.

In it with you,





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