Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Out of the Comfort Zone
That said, I believe strongly that I always benefit in some way from stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that makes me a little bit nervous. For instance, for the first 30 or so years of my life, public speaking was my greatest fear and I avoided it at all costs. But after I published my first book, I was asked to speak to a writer's group, and even though the thought of doing so made me sick to my stomach, I knew I had to do it for the sake of my career -- and for my own personal growth. And so I wrote a speech and I practiced giving it. Again. And again. And again. I stood in my office when nobody was home and pretended I was in front of an audience. I spoke out loud. When I finished, I started over again, repeating the process until I could ad lib and my notes were just a crutch for me to rely on in case I stumbled.
Today I absolutely love giving workshops, teaching writing and creativity classes, and talking to writers, readers and students. It enriches my life. I never would've known that and would've missed out on so much if I hadn't stepped out of my comfort zone back when I sold my first book!
The point of all this? Recently, when I was asked to do two squirm-inducing things that, in the past, I've tried to avoid like a visit to the dentist, I said, "Sure, why not?" The first was an interview for the blog radio show A Book and A Chat, with host, Barry Eva. (You can't practice for an interview. Who knows what the host will ask? Besides, my West Texas accent makes Reba McEntire sound like a Yankee.What if Barry Eva can't understand me, or me him? His English accent is as pronounced as my Texas one.) The second was a video of me talking about writing for the Texas Library Association's Spirit of Texas Reading Program. (I'm hyper-critical of myself on camera. I make funny, twitchy faces.) What the heck. I did the interview and the video anyway. And I had fun!
What's the moral of this story? Push yourself to do something uncomfortable from time-to-time. As long as it's something positive, you'll learn and grow. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment. You might help or inspire someone. Chances are you'll have a great time and find out that you love doing whatever it is that once made you break out in a cold, clammy sweat just thinking about it.
A Book and a Chat with Jennifer Archer
Spirit of Texas Reading Program/Jennifer Archer
Jennifer Archer's next YA novel, The Shadow Girl, will be released from Harper Teen 4/9/2013 and is available now for pre-order. Her book on the creativity/happiness connection, Happiness Rehab: 8 Creative Steps to a More Joyful Life is available now on Amazon. Her Samhain Retro-Romance novella, Breaking the Rules, will be available this month (11/20) as an ebook. Visit Jennifer's websites http://www.jenniferarcher.com/ and http://www.happinessrehab.com for more information.