Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where's Your Challenge Zone?

What risks are you taking with your writing these days?

After five years of writing, I (finally) know how to write a blog post for Casual Kitchen, my food site. I know how to structure a post that invites disagreement, debate and reactions from readers. And a recipe post? I can pretty much write those in my sleep.

It's all become a little too easy.

Once you've finally figured out how to do something with your writing, where's the risk in that? Where's the fun in that?

There's a zone you should seek out: somewhere beyond your writing comfort zone, but somewhere short of where you'll look totally incompetent. Call it the challenge zone.

In fact, Quick Writing Tips is my attempt to find my own new challenge zone. I wanted to broaden beyond the subject of food and teach myself to write in a shorter, tighter and more forceful writing format.

Here are a few examples of challenge zone writing you can try:

* Pure humor writing
* A piece dripping with irony, or sarcasm
* Deliberately combative and confrontational articles
* Writing from the perspective of the other gender
* Romantic--or erotic--writing

Don't go so far beyond your comfort zone that you feel tentative and stripped of confidence. Instead, look for subject areas or writing styles that would be a stretch for you, but a reasonable stretch. Start there.

Readers, where's your challenge zone?