Change

Change is one of those catch-22 elements. We all dislike it, but we all need it.

Without its stimulation we settle into cozy habits, establish comfort zones, and fight tooth-and-toenail to stay inside them…despite the fact that comfort zones rapidly disintegrate into ruts. And NO ONE wants to admit they’re in a rut.

The fact is, much as change disturbs us, it’s a necessary part of life. Without change we fall into stagnation, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go there.

Why am I blathering on about change? I recently spent a little over a week with my daughter and her family watching them step into the deep end of a major life change. I flew across the continental USA to stay with my preschool grandkids so that my daughter could accompany her husband to a job fair specifically designed for military officers who are exiting the service.

Lots of change in store for that young family, but when they emerge from the turmoil of indecision, the upheaval of moving who-knows-where, they’ll have a new stability, a new family dynamic. Daddy will not be missing from the little ones’ lives for months at a time. It will be a good change, but at the moment, their lives are filled with anxiety and the discomfort that change brings.

Closer to home, I’ve been thinking about my experiences in an anthology workshop I attended in late February. Everyone who participated had the opportunity to submit stories for six anthologies. Each story had to be written specifically for the workshop, and we were given limited time to create them (about a week per story). This was to ensure that we didn’t have time to edit out what makes our stories uniquely our own, that the editors experienced our authentic voices.

Six stories in six weeks in six different genres. It was a frightening experience, but at the same time, exhilarating. Five of the genres were ones I’ve never attempted to write – talk about blasting past your comfort zone! The last one was young adult. Ahhh! At last…my genre.

I only sold one of the stories. You guessed it: the YA. My voice and skills are established there. I know what I’m doing.

Was it worth it to move out of my comfort zone and attempt to write in those unfamiliar genres? You bet! I received feedback on each of those stories from six professional editors. I learned an incredible amount about my own strengths and weaknesses, and, even though those stories weren’t accepted for these particular anthologies, I discovered that I have a flair for writing mysteries and steampunk :D Thrillers and gambling fiction — not so much, but at least I know the basics of where I fell down.

Change can be unsettling, even downright uncomfortable, but when you emerge on the other side you discover new strengths and gain additional knowledge that will inform the rest of your life. So let me encourage you to step beyond your comfort zone every now and then. After all, you don’t want to let those ruts get so deep you can’t even peer over the top.

Remember: Change is good!

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About Debbie Mumford

Debbie Mumford specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She loves mythology and is especially fond of Celtic and Native American lore. She writes about faeries, dragons, and other fantasy creatures for adults as herself and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan. Visit debbiemumford.com to learn more about her currently available work.

Posted on April 21, 2014, in Authors - Debbie Mumford, misc and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Adjusting to change can be really tough. I can’t agree that all change is good, but it can be stimulating !! and sometimes we have to put up with it, like it or not. :)

  2. Oh! I quite agree. Not all change is good. Some can be downright devastating. However, we can still choose to pick ourselves up, harvest the lemons, and experiment with how best to make use of the windfall. But with smaller, less cataclysmic change, sometimes it’s good to jump out of the rut and embrace it :D

  3. So, the book is out on me here- I do the same old things repeatedly, and basically fear change. And I didn’t get any better the first fifteen years with a job like private school history teaching! I’m such a paternal creature- and even though I’ve now been in the business world longer than I was a teacher, I’m still breathtaken by the pace of change and how everyone embraces it. Clearly an area where I need work. At best I think I’m willing, but my preference is still to keep things as they were. Never happens! So I guess my job is a blessing in that way… I acknowledge my good fortune in many aspects of the work I have, and even this, I suppose is another.

    The last word for me was written on a hospital poster I saw when my daughter was so sick, fourteen years ago. It read: “Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray for a strong spirit.”

    Great post Debbie.

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