Breaking out

Sometimes the world can be a very uncomfortable place. Right now the temperature outside my house is 15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with little in the way of a reprieve for at least a couple of weeks.  For more than two months straight, my facial expression while running errands has been similar to the one I make when tweezing eyebrow hairs. It’s no wonder that I, and those I share this presently inhospitable environment with,  desperately seek comfort in other ways.

The problem with comfort is, it can stifle ambition pretty damn quick. If you’re content with your present situation, there’s little motivation to change it, even if that situation becomes detrimental to you.

“Comfortable in my own misery,” is an all too common phenomena. It keeps us in unhealthy relationships, overweight bodies, dead end jobs, and generally uninspired lives. That’s why we all need to break out of the comfort zone every once in a while.

The last winter that we had that was this bad compelled me to become a writer. My act of comfort was removing my attention away from my reality and focusing on the fantasies in my head where I could control everything.

Having the responsibility of writing for an audience is less comfortable, but it still gives me a sense of purpose that I don’t often feel with other aspects of my life. Writing offers me excitement and anticipation. I’m creating an alternative universe that never existed exactly as I’m creating it. I’m good in that place.

I’m horrible at marketing. My comfort in misery is self publishing and marketing each book in my series exactly the same way because it’s familiar and I don’t have to go to any extra trouble.

“Don’t enter any contests because that’s extra effort and you might fail. Don’t test new markets because it requires extra file formatting and that might just end up being an entire new audience that ignores you, or even worse, hates you.”

I listened and obeyed that lazy, indulgent, “comfortable” voice in my head for years, and wouldn’t you know it, but sales of my books were slow, and I began to lose hope.

So, in this god awful cold winter, I felt compelled to change. I entered my books into new markets. I just entered a contest last week. I have two more contests to enter this weekend and one that has a deadline in June. I’m gearing up to go on another social media site. And I’m still writing my heart out.

Metaphorically and literally, it’s still hard to wake up in the morning and remove myself from the warm, soft, bed covers to face the cold, stark light of day, but I persevere with hope in my heart that spring is just around the corner, waiting with joyful surprises. I hope you will be there to enjoy them with me.

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