Comfort Zones And The Writer

by Catherine L. Tully

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

As I settled into my favorite writing spot this morning to check e-mail I began thinking about the idea of having a “comfort zone” and how much easier that can make things…

The way I’m defining comfort zone for the purposes of this post is: “a place the writer feels comfortable and is likely to have little chance of getting distracted from the task at hand–writing.” Mine is the couch. For some writers, it’s the desk. For others, the local coffee house.

The couch elicits an almost Pavlovian response from me in that I can get to work quickly. I’m extremely efficient, aware of time (and maximizing my use of it), and can hammer at tasks I need to do every day–such as answer e-mails, file things and do initial research. I’m lightning fast.

But I’ve learned something else about my comfort zone.

It’s a lousy place for me to be creative. The same things that enable me to work well when sitting on the sofa are the very things that seem to inhibit my ability to tap into my imagination. For that I have to go elsewhere – and that works quite well for me. A new environment opens up those creative pathways and allows me to explore new ideas and directions.

It has taken me a long time to discover this about myself, and I’m not sure it works the same for everyone…but I have a hunch it will ring true for many people when they stop to think about it. So I thought I’d put it out there to perhaps save others a bit of time and effort if I can–and to hear from writers who may work the same way.

So tell me–who else out there has a “comfort zone” and how does it work for you?