5 Ways to Get Out of the Comfort Zone and Become a Stronger Writer

Writing is like anything else. To really get better, we have to push ourselves. We need to constantly reevaluate what feels comfortable…and then take it to the next step. This is the only way to get better, faster, leaner, and tighter. As I always say, it is a wonderful time to be a writer, but it is also a terrifying time to be a writer.

Discoverability is a nightmare when we are competing against everyone with a computer and access to Smashwords. This is why it is so critical to have an on-line platform. But, it is also vital that we learn to write better than the competition and faster. To do this we must train.

To Grow, Do More

When I was in high school, I was on the swim team, and, when we were training for speed, the coach would make us wear a full sweatsuit to swim our laps. Cotton gets seriously heavy when wet. It felt like we were trying to swim laps pulling a tug boat, if we were actually wearing the tug boat. But, let me tell you, when we took the sweat suits off? We swam like greased lighting.

When I began my career as a writer, I thought a 1000 words a day was a really huge deal. Then I did Candy Haven’s Fast Draft (20 pages a day) and after that? 1000 words a day was a breeze. If you want to be able to up that daily word count, push yourself. Train. Amateurs play for fun, but professionals play for keeps.

Be Uncomfortable

If we are comfortable, we aren’t growing. We don’t always need to grow quantitatively. There probably is an upper word count limit per day. I know I cannot do more than 4,000 words a day. I get tendonitis every time. But, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other areas where I can still be pushing to make sure I am always bringing my best and making myself grow into a better writer.

Understand We Are Capable of More than We Believe

Most of us underestimate what we are capable of if pushed. Last summer, Ingrid told me about Bikram yoga. I thought she was a nutcase and a masochist.

Seriously? An hour and a half of yoga in a 111 degree room? Are you nuts?

But, I was all about at least trying new things so I went to a class (and thought I was going to die). Anyway, Bikram has a 60 day challenge, 60 sessions in 60 days. So 90 hours in 111 degree room bending in ways you didn’t know people could bend. I thought it was nuts, but I wanted to see what I could do. I figured I would be lucky to make it back for Day 2.

My first goal was just to do 5 days. If I could do 5 days, that was a HUGE deal. Well, 5 turned into 10 days straight. Well, hmmmm. I made it this far, lets try for two weeks. 10 days became 14. Well, why not see if I can make it to 20? I ended up doing the entire 60 days, and this was a person who had no idea how she’d make it through Day 1. But here is the thing. I didn’t believe I could do it in the beginning, but I challenged that belief and now I have a free t-shirt.

I am surprisingly motivated by happy face stickers and free t-shirts.

Face is still red from class, but I DID IT!

5 Ways to Push Your Comfort Zone

1. Increase word count—If you aren’t writing every day, start. I write 6 days a week. Start with 100 words. Once that feels comfortable, go to 200 and pretty soon you will be typing with the big kids. Most of us can’t start with a professional pace. We have to train for it.

2. Start a blog—Blogging has all kinds of benefits, but one of the largest benefits is it helps new writers train for a professional pace. Kill multiple birds with one stone. Sure a blog helps your author brand and platform. But a blog also will train you to make deadlines and up your daily word count. A blog will also help you write cleaner, tighter, faster and leaner.

3. Read a genre you don’t normally read—I can always tell writers who read only in their genre. Get out of the comfort zone and read another genre. It will help you fold new elements to your fiction that will help your work stand apart from the competition.

4. Enter a contest—Contests give us deadlines and also put our work out there for peer review.

5. Write in a genre you don’t normally write—Sometimes getting out of our own genre will help develop new muscles. We might even find out that the genre we originally chose isn’t the best fit. I originally wanted to be a thriller author. Blogging helped me discover that actually I excelled at humor writing. If I hadn’t dared to write non-fiction, I might have never discovered I could make people laugh.

What are some ways you get out of the comfort zone? How do you push yourself to the next level? What keeps you motivated? Do you struggle with being lazy? Have you ever attempted something you believed you could never do, and you actually did it? Tell us your story!

I love hearing from you!

I hope you will hop over to WANA International and sign up for a class. We offer affordable training right in the comfort of your home or office from the best teachers in the industry.

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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  1. #1 by Heather on June 11, 2012 - 9:17 am

    This is fantastic advice. I needed the reminder to push myself and not get complacent. Thanks!

  2. #2 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on June 11, 2012 - 9:22 am

    Aw crap, Kristen. As usual you are saying the things I hear in my heaad. Lately, I’ve been thinking: I need to stop giving the milk away for free and try to sell some of this shizz. I should enter some contests. Why not? (And then I find twenty pillows to fluff.) That said, my #1 priority is to finish my book and get it out into the world.

    So.

    That is where my energies are being focused right now.

    I’m at 89K. (I know, right?) Get ready, Team Whiskey Leader. ;-)

    Great post. I do everything you say, except please don’t make me read science fiction. I just can’t do it. I mean I have but it feels like punishment to me. Anything else is fair game. And I allready did my 500 words this morning, and it’s only 10:30 AM. Whew.

  3. #3 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on June 11, 2012 - 9:22 am

    *already*

  4. #4 by Stacy Green on June 11, 2012 - 9:23 am

    So true about the word count. I used to think 1500/day was my limit, but in the push to write as much as possible before Grace was out of school for summer break, I average 4K a day and realized it was doable with the right motivation.

    And very true about the blogging. That’s really helped hone my writing and communication skills.

    One thing I need to do is read outside my genres. I’m just so pressed for time and have so many on my list.

  5. #5 by Go Jules Go on June 11, 2012 - 9:27 am

    First of all, kudos on the Bikram, wow! I’m still fighting the ‘they’re all masochists’ mindset, even though a writer-bud is trying to get me to join her!

    I find that I usually waste a lot of energy on THINKING I’m not doing enough, instead of simply just DOING. This was very encouraging, though, because I might be farther along than I thought, just in terms of how much I actually do write every day. I love the idea of reading/writing more outside of my genre, though; that’s something I haven’t done in a while. Thanks, as always, for another inspiring post!

  6. #6 by Juliana Brandt (@julianalbrandt) on June 11, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Oh man, this is the kick in the pants I needed to read this morning. While querying, I’ve been poo-pooing around getting other writing in. I have no idea why! It’s a lovely distraction from querying and I have the perfect WIP to work on. Writing every day is a great goal to start :)

  7. #7 by EllieAnn on June 11, 2012 - 9:31 am

    Really good stuff here, per usual. It is hard to get pushed from your comfort zone, but the rewards are so great after you do it, and you never miss that little zone anyway. =)
    I’m pretty scared of contests. But a few months ago I did one and it was SO fun. Now I’m terrified of putting my current WIP into my beta readers hands, LoL. There will always be another level for me to push myself! Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. #8 by Adriana Ryan on June 11, 2012 - 9:43 am

    I love this! I’ve been thinking about doing something wayyyy outside my comfort zone, simply to keep my brain and life fresh (sitting in front of a computer typing endlessly…yeah, not so many opportunities for growth :)). I’ve found doing something new also infuses life into my writing. Total win-win. Now to just figure out what it is that I should do…

  9. #9 by Susan Hollaway on June 11, 2012 - 9:46 am

    Your post was so timely and accurate. Lots of stuff going on in my life right now…making it so easy to get distracted and pulled away from writing. Thanks, Kristen. It IS doable, even with everything going on. Blessings to you!

  10. #10 by Paige Kellerman on June 11, 2012 - 9:55 am

    I’ve been at 500 per day and am now pushing for 700. Unfortunately, between the twins wanting to be surgically attached 24/7, blogging, and my husband thinking he needs to use the laptop too, that’s all I’m getting out there, but this WIP will be finished this month!

  11. #11 by Collective Compositions on June 11, 2012 - 10:18 am

    Reblogged this on CollectiveCompositions!.

  12. #12 by Cheryl Fassett on June 11, 2012 - 10:20 am

    Kristen– Thanks for the buttkicking! :) I really needed to hear this today. :)

  13. #13 by Don McAllister on June 11, 2012 - 10:22 am

    Excellent advice, Kristen! Thanks! It’s important to just start writing every day, and like how you advise a slow, gradual increase in word count.

  14. #14 by Rebecca Enzor on June 11, 2012 - 10:22 am

    I know I’m capable of writing many many words in a day, for many days at a time (Five time NaNo winner and ML!), but now that I’m “finished” editing and trying to get back into writing a first draft again I’m having problems. I know I can do it, and it used to be my favorite part of the process. I guess so much time off left me fat and lazy in the writing department and now I have to re-train to get those words out :) The post was a nice little reminder of that. Gotta flex those muscles again!

  15. #15 by Tami Clayton on June 11, 2012 - 10:23 am

    How you seem to manage to give me the exact message I need when I need is one of the great mysteries of life. :) Thank you!

    • #16 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 11, 2012 - 11:06 am

      Probably because we all struggle with a lot of the same things. I just pass on the lessons I’ve had to learn—and am still learning—myself.

  16. #17 by Julie Day on June 11, 2012 - 10:27 am

    I went to a different place today to write. Joined up with a couple of other authors. I believe I managed to write 2500 words, which is 1700 more than I would do if I was at home. Having to go somewhere and see others write, made me more focused on what I was doing.

  17. #18 by donnagalanti on June 11, 2012 - 10:44 am

    Great tips. Especially on getting out of your comfort zone! I tried reading 2 new genres this year – YA (and loving it!) and zombies..never would have thought. I also challenged myself to write a YA novel in the 1st person – much different from adult suspense 3rd person. Man, was it hard and I didnt think I could get through the book but finished and now love it and hope to publish it.

    It helps to have others supporting you when stepping outside our comfort zone and cheer you on – otherwise I know it can be easy to step down from the challenge. :)

    And Julie Day – I started doing the same thing! Meet up with other writers at Wegmans Cafe and we hold each other accountable to just write. Amazing what you can get done. Good luck!

  18. #19 by Pat Bean on June 11, 2012 - 10:55 am

    The writer in me needed this kick in the butt. I thought some other writers might, too, and recognized your blog today.

    Bean’s Pat: Kristen Lamb’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/cvto554 How to become a stronger writer. Good advice for serious writers.

    *This pat-on-the-back recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. June 11, patbean.wordpress.com

  19. #20 by KM Huber on June 11, 2012 - 10:57 am

    Currently, I am immersed in a sixteenth month study of authentic ancient traditions, my way of reaching beyond my comfort zone for a routine of living (in this, I include writing) that is not a scheduling or counting of minutes but a routine where every minute is a way of life. In the first few weeks, I relied on what I had known to be successful ways of living, neither challenging my thinking nor my being but re-enforcing where and what I had always been. In short, I sought the same but expected the new.

    Then, it came to me: the line in the sand is always changing.

    In writing, I returned to the essay to re-discover fiction, which I no longer read or wrote. Once again, I write daily and just as you say, Kristen, the daily word count increases but most important is the freshness and depth of my writing, pushing boundaries and finding stories or living completely in each moment.

    Karen

  20. #21 by Amelia J. Byrnes on June 11, 2012 - 10:59 am

    This was exactly what I needed today. I feel inspired all over again. Thanks!

  21. #22 by Marcy Kennedy on June 11, 2012 - 11:08 am

    #1 on the list is the only one I currently haven’t yet used to push myself, and it’s one I’m determined to do. I’m a slow writer by nature, and I want to see if I can increase my pace without compromising quality. I already had a vacation scheduled for this month (my husband decided I was well overdue and booked his days off so I couldn’t back out), so I couldn’t participate in this round of fast drafting with Jenny, Ingrid, and the others, but if they launch another round in July, I think that’d be a great way to see what I can really do. I’m trying to plot out my next novel right now so I’ll be ready to go.

    • #23 by Jenny Hansen on June 12, 2012 - 1:54 am

      Gene and I (and I’m sure some others) are taking Candace Havens’ Fast Draft in July. I’ll keep my Fast Draft loop open through that for those that want the community but not the class. :-)

  22. #24 by Joanne Guidoccio on June 11, 2012 - 11:13 am

    Great advice, Kristen! Need to start the week on a strong note and write each day.

  23. #25 by susielindau on June 11, 2012 - 11:17 am

    I never have a problem motivating to write, but what I write is another story. I am anxious to start writing my next book and yet I am still rewriting my first.

    The way I have been getting myself motivated to step away from blog posts and finish is to force myself to daydream about chapters I am working on. After doing that for a while, it has become more natural and I have gotten quite a few new ideas that way. If I had “cranked it out” a couple of months ago, it wouldn’t have had the time to percolate. Coffee like a book needs to be brewed….

    Sitting down and forcing myself to TYPE can be a total waste of time for me.

    The other technique I have used is writing blog posts to get an idea for what works for readers and what doesn’t.

    Great post Kristen.

    • #26 by Lanette Kauten on June 11, 2012 - 11:23 am

      I have the same problem, Susie. And I think it’s great you have solved the problem the same way I have- by daydreaming! Imagination is a powerful tool.

      • #27 by susielindau on June 12, 2012 - 8:59 am

        Thanks Lanette! It has gotta come from my imagination first and it is so much easier to rewrite in my head!

  24. #28 by Lanette Kauten on June 11, 2012 - 11:21 am

    I did number 5 almost a year ago, and it was the best decision I’ve made. I have read a lot of fantasy and thrillers while always being in awe of literary and upmarket fiction. When I switched from writing fantasy to serious women’s fiction I struggled with it because it was hard, but I also amazed myself that my voice suddenly became more authentic than it ever was writing fantasy. I’m now working on my second novel in women’s fiction, and I haven’t looked back. Also, the second one’s easier to write.

  25. #29 by corajramos on June 11, 2012 - 11:23 am

    Just the message I’ve been trying to tell myself, but without Bikram yoga as inspiration. Now to do as Yoda said, “try not, do”–or something like that. Thanks for another inspirational post.

  26. #30 by Ashley Prince on June 11, 2012 - 11:29 am

    I know this is supposed to be about writing out of your comfort zone, but now you have me wanting to do Bikram yoga! Lol.

  27. #31 by Katie on June 11, 2012 - 11:37 am

    This is exactly why I love NaNoWriMo. It gave me an idea of what it’s like to work on a deadline, rather than letting a story spin its way out slowly over months and months. I’m excited for the session in August, for which I’ll be attempting your #5 by trying to write a Western. Excellent post as always!

  28. #32 by Pauline Baird Jones on June 11, 2012 - 12:09 pm

    Perfect for Monday! Gonna push myself today! thanks so much. I needed this so much!

  29. #33 by August McLaughlin on June 11, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    I love #s 2 and 4 especially. Starting a blog was definitely not comfy for me. Now, I’d be uncomfortable not maintaining one, and it’s truly helped my writing and mental health. lol Number 4 is what helped me get my first novel started. Contests are great, because they instill deadlines and, who knows? We just might win something awesome.

    Doing non-writing un-comfy things help my writing, too. Performing as a street musician was petrifying, and led me to race home to write about it. Great post!

  30. #34 by stanalei15 on June 11, 2012 - 12:44 pm

    Love the 5 tips. Started blogging. Now need to write every day. Every Day.

  31. #35 by Janice Heck on June 11, 2012 - 1:48 pm

    I’m blogging. Now trying to increase word count. My life disrupts that goal…but trying. Motivation…hmmm, maybe chocolate/vanilla soft-serve cone with chocolate jimmies on hot summer nights.

  32. #36 by Turndog Millionaire on June 11, 2012 - 1:53 pm

    Some truly great tips. I’m doing my best to write as much as I can. Blog Posts, Fiction, Business Plans…anything I can muster. I need to get better, so this is what you have to do :)

    Thanks for the tips

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

  33. #37 by Jon Rieley-Goddard on June 11, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    I’m a big fan of posting daily to a blog for fiction. You can set it to private or just not say much about it if you are nervous. Watching the manuscriipt grow a little each day is a good feeling. I seem to write in three- or four-page bursts, in both fiction and non. And the non-fiction comes a lot slower, so I shoot for a weekly post there. Word count is less of a concern than making sense at any level, for me.

  34. #38 by Emily Cannell on June 11, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    I continue to learn awesome things when I visit – my blog posts almost two years ago are so different from the ones posted today. I didn`t really believe that blogging was a good way of practicing- it is and I needed the practice! Great advice.

  35. #39 by Helen Ross on June 11, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    Hi Kristen. I am a newbie here. Nice to ‘meet’ you. Great info in this post. I loved your book – We Are Not Alone. Just fantastic. It was recommended to me by another writer. I too have made mistakes but am learning as I go. I am now on my second reading (I book-marked the ‘To Do pages’) and now implementing much needed changes on my bio, web and blog, etc. Thanks, Helen

  36. #40 by Kathy on June 11, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    Thanks, Kristin. I’m in perpetual need of a kick in the pants. Your post is a good one. I’ve done other things I didn’t know how to do–writing a novel is really just another one of those. And more fun than most of the others. It doesn’t make sense to drag out the process.

  37. #41 by tomburkhalter on June 11, 2012 - 4:41 pm

    I’m a big fan of the folks at the Office of Letters and Light. They run National Novel Writers Month, a 50K word-count story in one month (November and, I think, now also in July — check their website!) contest, and ScriptFrenzy!, a similar event requiring the contestant to finish a 100-page script in one month (April). There is also my favorite personal comfort zone challenge, National Novel Editing Month, which takes place in March. There’s no prize and no peer review here — just that Finalist certificate at the end of the month if you make it. But you’ve got two things far more important than that certificate: the knowledge that you actually did it, and a first draft of a novel or screenplay.

  38. #42 by stephscottil on June 11, 2012 - 4:58 pm

    Kudos to you on bikrham; I hated it the first time but ended up doing one of the 30 day promos later on and ended up feeling great about it. It’s expensive though, and I already pay for a gym, so I haven’t been in a few years. 60 days is an amazing accomplishment! Wow.

    I like your #3 to read outside of your genre; I switched things up recently and learned so much from a couple well chosen books that actually helped me in my current WIP. I agree on contests, too. RWA has fantastic ones, they even send you feedback sheets for most of them. The first contest I did confirmed what I already knew were my weak points and reinforced what I’d worked hardest on. I really needed that direction to focus on. The Romance Writers of America national website has a list of contests, you don’t have to be a member of RWA for many of them.

  39. #43 by broadsideblog on June 11, 2012 - 6:14 pm

    I’ve started writing a blog (paid) on personal finance. I’m learning a lot about it as I do, which is cool. I’ve also started doing visual scouting for another website, so using my visual/design training and skills, which I’ve rarely used; (I usually make my living as a writer.) It’s a great break and chance to learn and get paid.

    The larger issues of discomfort for me right now are setting and keeping boundaries and expectations with my agent(s), publicists, editors(s) and other clients, hiring and firing and even occasionally quitting toxic projects as necessary — not just putting up with BS, neglect or worse because it’s the default/no conflict solution. It’s not about word counts or genre for me right now, but management skills and long-term strategy.

    It is uncomfortable doing this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary for further and greater professional success and personal growth.

  40. #44 by laurimeyers on June 11, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    Great advice on reading out of your genre. I have little kids so we only read picture books, and I would like to write picture books. But I just read this year’s Newberry Winners which were all young adult. And holy cow! They knocked me on my rear. They were amazing. I had no idea this is what 10 year olds were reading.

  41. #45 by Yvette Carol on June 11, 2012 - 8:32 pm

    Yeah Kristen I do find that reading other books can be wonderfully refreshing. However I long to get back to middle-grade fantasy fiction every time!! Ha ha

  42. #46 by Jarm Del Boccio on June 11, 2012 - 9:57 pm

    Congrats, Kristen, for achieving your goal! These pointers are helpful…I’m doing most of what you suggest, however, I need to increase my daily word count. My forté is non-fiction PBs, but I’m branching out into fiction and rhyme!

  43. #47 by astridcooper on June 11, 2012 - 10:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing your ‘comfort zone’ tips, Kirsten. Interestingly, two weks ago I ran a motivation/goal-setting writing workshop and had these same pointers as part of my presentation, plus the following week I was present at a writing awards night (I was one of the judges of the competition) and my short presentation to the audience also had these 5 tips … and it was comforting for me to know that you also had these tips on your blog. I once mentioned these tips to another writing group – years ago, now – and received some very harsh commentary against reading and writing out of your comfort zone. Thanks so much for your fab, blog posts.
    Best wishes
    Astrid Cooper.

  44. #48 by Serena Dracis, Author on June 11, 2012 - 10:56 pm

    It’s always inspirational to read your blog. Helps keep me on track, or get me back there!

  45. #49 by Don Carnagey~Lanier on June 11, 2012 - 11:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Don Carnagey~Lanier and commented:
    Great Advice!

  46. #50 by Jess Witkins on June 11, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    So what I needed tonight. Thank you! Back to Fast Draft.

  47. #51 by caitlinjacobs on June 12, 2012 - 7:56 am

    Alright Kristen, I’m taking your advice to heart. I’m gonna up my daily wordcount by 1000 words and make sure I stay consistent on it. I also started a blog (www.caitlinjacobs.wordpress.com) after reading your “Are You There Blog?” book – which I thought was great. I’m new to this whole blogging thing but I think you’re spot-on on your thoughts on building a platform. Thanks for all your advice, words of wisdom, and loving butt-kicking! You rock!

  48. #52 by ginafava on June 12, 2012 - 8:35 am

    Sage wisdom as always, Kristen. It’s about ROI (Return on Investment)–the more you give, the more you reap the rewards.

  49. #53 by Maryann Miller on June 12, 2012 - 10:37 am

    Love the tips, especially number 3. I know some writers who never read out of the genre they most enjoy and probably write in. I have learned so much by stepping out of that comfort zone. I will, however, draw the line at exercising in 111 degree temperatures. Early morning walks in 70 degrees in my max. LOL

  50. #54 by Nancy M. Griffis on June 12, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Nancy M. Griffis and commented:
    Excellent advice and something I try to do myself! If you aren’t pushing your boundaries as a writer (or a person) then you stagnate.

  51. #55 by violetcorniun on June 12, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    This was wonderful motivation for me to read today! It’s always good and sobering to know even the pros still view writing as a challenge. One of the biggest struggles for me is to write every day because I, like pretty much every other writer out there, have other responsibilities. For me especially, those other responsibilities take precedence over writing and all of a sudden writing is at the bottom of my priority list. I realize that this needs to be changed if I’m serious about writing, but I haven’t quite figured out how. Proving that writing is important is difficult when I’m talking to my friends who are doctors and computer engineers. With that said, I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the support to be found in WANA.

    I’ve started a blog for exactly the reasons you mentioned: deadlines and upping word count.

    Every time I read a genre I don’t normally read, I am surprised that it took me that long to come to that genre. Subsequently, I become obsessed with that particular genre and nothing else for about 3 months.

    I’m a NaNoWriMo winner 5 years running, which takes care of both daily word count and entering a contest (50,000 words in 30 days really pushes me!).

    The current novel I’m working on is in a genre I never, ever thought I’d write, but an idea came to me and it just seemed to fit that genre mold the best. The results have been exciting, and it’s the first novel that my husband, though always encouraging, is genuinely and visibly excited for me to finish.

    It really is hard to get out of my comfort zone (I’m pretty admittedly lazy if left to my own devices), but the best ways I find to break out of it is just to introduce a new environment. I also try–often in vain–to follow the advice in Baz Luhrman’s “Suncreen Song”: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Being a naturally optimistic person is my best motivation, I think. But coffee and my dog provides great motivation, too! :)

    The blog is my current something that I’m attempting that I’m not sure I can do…I’ll have to get back to you on whether or not I actually ended up “doing it.” My goal is to keep it maintained for a year. Here’s hoping!

    Best,
    ~Violet~

  52. #56 by James J. Murray, Fiction Writer on June 12, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Great post, Kristen. As always, your posts give my a little kick in the behind to get moving and do more. My word count has been way off these last two months. Why? Because I read both of your books and dived head first into social media. First Twitter, and then a website, and then a professional page on FB and finally a blog site. I’ve been blogging for about 6 weeks and now feel that “I’m in the groove” with my blog schedule and can now easily keep ahead of my timelines. Those things were hard to do and still try to manage a respectable daily word count. BUT, the good news is that the ball is now rolling on my social media and I’m making new friends and contacts every day. Most importantly, I’m putting all that back into perspective and beginning to concentrate again on WORD COUNT! It’s getting better but I still have a ways to go. An interesting thing is that writing a regular blog is making me a better fiction writer and a faster writer, and it’s further defining what I am as a writer.

  53. #57 by shankarkashyap on June 12, 2012 - 3:28 pm

    Fantastic advice as always Kirsten. When I started to write, I could barely type 100 words at a time. Now I can easily sit and finish more than 1000 words in one sitting!! I have started a Blog and managing to do one post every 15 days. My aim is to get a post out every week by end of summer.I started to read romance novel which I had never done. just wanted to see what other people thought of writing!!
    Anyone who follows your advice will definitely succeed.

  54. #58 by Tamara LeBlanc on June 12, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    I suppose my writing comfort zone consists of wordiness. I’m an over adjectiver. I enjoy typing a nice 25 word sentence that’s 3/4 description.
    But most editors and agents don’t share my love for paragraph padding.
    So, I make it a point to go back and eliminate extras after I’ve written THE END.
    This used to terrify me. I NEED those words! His huge, broad shouldered, muscular build, is a great description, dam-it! How can I be expected to cut it?
    But If I wanted to get published, I had to slice through those sentences like a holiday ham. I had to challenge myself.
    And over the years I’ve gotten better and better at it. In fact, now, when I’m editing and I find extra words, I get excited. Locating and then happily cutting those unnecessary adjectives means that I’ve grown as an author, that I’ve gotten ‘cleaner, tighter, faster and leaner,’ as you said.
    And after all, that’s my goal, to become the best writer I can possibly be.
    Great post, Kristen. Always learning from you.
    Thank you for your knowledge and have a fantastic evening!
    Tamara

  55. #59 by Marvin Mayer on June 13, 2012 - 7:56 am

    Ouch! You hit me where it hurt! How many times have I started exercising, writing, scheduling, or some other repetitious effort, starting off at a manageable level, then “pushing” myself to do more and better, only to reach a maintenance level, then drop off to nothing. Yes, we must push ourselves if we want to grow, but we also must not stop pushing or we will start sliding. NaNoWriMo was an interesting exercise for me. I tried it once in 2010. Wrote a Sci-fi story (not my genre!) and wrote more than the 50K words the challenge required. That story is now being edited for publication by a publisher who has put it under contract. You never know what you can achieve until you try. Thanks again for your leadership, Kristen.

  56. #60 by Linda Adams on June 13, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    I switched to omniscient viewpoint. I’d always defaulted to third person, though I’ve done stories in first person. But on my book, third didn’t feel right, and first was downright horrible. Despite all the naysayers, I jumped into omni, and it’s a better book for it.

  57. #61 by Tatiane de Mello on June 14, 2012 - 4:59 am

    Hi Kriste, my name is Tatiane and I’m a screenwriter. I always read your blog, is very inspired, congrats. I’m brazilian and I have a blog too. I really like you text, so I translate for Portuguese and released in my blog. Sure, I put the link for the original in you blog. I hope don’t have any problem.I’ll leave the link here. Thanks.

    http://fredoyoubrokemyheart.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/5-maneiras-de-sair-de-sua-zona-de-conforto-e-tornar-se-um-escritor-melhor/

  58. #62 by Lew Weinstein on June 15, 2012 - 1:23 am

    I have done all of the things you recommend … they work!

  59. #63 by simplejoysofheaven on June 15, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Thanks to your blog post! :) Worth-reading, indeed! :>

  60. #64 by simplejoysofheaven on June 15, 2012 - 8:49 am

    Reblogged this on My Personal Legend in my Gigantic Universe! and commented:
    “If we are comfortable, we aren’t growing.” –Kristen Lamb >:D<

  61. #65 by Abby on June 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    Fantastic advice, especially the first. I should know by now that leaping into things with sky-high expectations is a great way to crash and burn (read: every time I say I’m going to train for a 5k. That first attempt at three miles. Oh lawd). I stopped writing for a long time because of self-doubt and am just getting back into it–and really struggled at returning to it recently, because it didn’t come NEARLY as easily as it used to. I used to write feverishly on my old PC so far past my bedtime. What? Where’d that spunky little wordspinner go? Now I now it’s still there, just rusty, so I took it slow at first. And you’re right–the words came kinda slow and clunky to start with, but it’s starting to flow again. It’s lovely.

    Oh, and the blog advice is good too. Did that. I’m just gonna go ahead and go big or go home, haha. Thanks for the tips!

  62. #66 by Julie Glover on June 16, 2012 - 8:58 am

    Your comments about blogging (“one of the largest benefits is it helps new writers train for a professional pace”) are so true for me. It’s one of the reasons I give for maintaining my blog. I like writing about things I enjoy, providing information, connecting with others, and building a platform, but I have noticed the personal benefits of writing, as you say, “cleaner, tighter, faster and leaner.” Great tips, Kristen!

    And I’m planning to enter some contests. Donna Newton apparently does a great job of getting out information on those.

  63. #67 by Ginny Jaques on October 23, 2012 - 11:16 am

    I’m part way there. I have a blog. Now I just need to post regularly!

    But the one thing I did that I thought I could/would never do (besides surviving 3 child-bearing experiences), was to write and self-publish a novel. The process was like your 60 days of yoga. I never intended to do the whole thing. I just sat down each day and worked forward, from wherever I was to wherever I might be going. It was an uphill climb, and took years of plodding, but one day led to the next, without my even noticing, and finally I was at the top of the mountain.

    The view is spectacular!

  64. #68 by dederants on February 4, 2013 - 8:59 pm

    Reblogged this on From Slacker To Scribe and commented:
    Love this post!

  65. #69 by elementarymydearbloggers on March 26, 2013 - 4:14 pm

  66. #70 by ceciliamariepulliam on May 22, 2013 - 7:20 am

    Well, my issue is time. I have a day job which really restricts my time. I do get up at 4:00 am to make time to write ( I have to be at work at 7:20am) and spend my lunch hour on my laptop, but it isn’t enough to get a good word count, at least not the numbers you recommend. I can’t write in the evening. The mind just shuts down after work. And of course I need to spend some time with the family – sometime. It is a struggle and I know I’m not alone with the time issue. So, I’ll just keep struggling along. A hundred words a day is better than none…. Thanks for the encoragement, Kristine.

  67. #71 by ceciliamariepulliam on May 22, 2013 - 7:22 am

    Oops, sorry. I just realized I spelled your name wrong. Forgive the early -morning -not- enough -coffee yet comment.

  68. #72 by EMM on August 2, 2013 - 10:46 am

    Brilliant advice, thank you!
    In all honesty, I am only thirteen, meaning most do not think that I am serious when it comes to writing. It’s a hobby, I must admit, however I want to improve, as I know that if I try hard enough, I will be able to. Your advice is really helpful, and I thank you for that.

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