Sunday, May 29, 2016

Weekend Wildcard - Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

We're delighted to welcome back Alison Stone as she talks to the Pink Heart Society about following your instincts when it comes to writing...

I’d never call myself an adventurous person, but I’ve had adventurous moments. Flashes, if you will. Like the time I decided to go to Georgia Tech when home was in Buffalo, NY.  (That’s 893 miles for those of you with Google Maps. And since we didn’t have a lot of money, that meant not coming home until the end of the term.)  Or the time I decided to go to the RWA conference in Atlanta and pitched my book to an agent. 

I remember the flush of dread that washed over me when I started pitching my YA novel to Karen Solem and she told me they didn’t represent YA.  I almost got up and walked away when Karen started chatting with me and I remembered that category book that I had been working on. So, I pitched that and she invited me to submit a partial. If it hadn’t been for Karen’s kindness and my last minute bravery, I wouldn’t have signed with Spencerhill Associates a few months later.

But between those moments of bravery, I prefer yoga pants, my couch, and my laptop. Lately, I’ve noticed something. Comfort begets more comfort. I’ve come to the conclusion that once Amazon Fresh grocery delivery comes to the Buffalo market, I may never leave my house again. Like ever. And as great as that day will be, I’ve decided it could be a slippery slope.

You see, my few moments of bravery over my lifetime have lead me to many wonderful things: an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, which lead to a great job, which lead to a wonderful husband, my kids…the list goes on. Our choices shape who we are.

However, the older I get, I have to remind myself to make those leaps. Last summer, I was at the RWA conference in NYC when my agent suggested I write something for Waterfall Press, Apub’s Christian imprint. I knew just the project, but it was completely outside my comfort zone of writing for Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense. Despite that, I went home and let it rip. I mean, really, just let it rip. I wrote a partial in a short time, submitted it to my agent, and fully expected her to say, “This is good, but…”  However the “but” never came. My agent loved it and it turns out, so did Waterfall Press.

I’ll never forget my agent’s phone call telling me that Waterfall wanted to buy my book. I had a sort of out of body experience. I was thrilled that Waterfall offered me a contract based on my partial, but another voice was growing louder, “Now, you have to write the book.” (Panic often rears its head about this time.)

As the voice grew louder and louder, doubt crept in. Oh, what have I done? But as much as I love comfort, I also despise letting anyone down. Because I had a contract and a deadline, I had to push through and write the book. There was no maybe. Pointe and Shoot, my Dance Moms meets Blue Bloods book is in the final production stages and already up for pre-sale on Amazon. Have I mentioned how much I love this book? A book that would have never existed if I hadn’t stepped outside my comfort zone.

Even as the temptation to stick to the known is always going to be appealing to me, I will continue to push myself out of my comfort zone because more often than not, it has been worth it.  So worth it.

Are you a risk taker? What risks have you taken? Or what risks would you love to take, but you’re afraid to?  Join the discussion with Alison in the comments!

Alison's latest novel, Plain Protector, is out now:

When an unknown assailant attacks Sarah Gardner shortly after she moves to Apple Creek, she doesn't know which of her fears has come true. Is someone trying to tell her that meddling strangers aren't welcome in this tight-knit Amish community, or has her abusive ex-boyfriend found her? The social worker doesn't want to run again, not when she's finally putting down roots. But she may not have a choice, unless deputy sheriff Nick Jennings can protect her. 

The former army ranger knows that Sarah has secrets…and women with secrets only bring heartache. But serving the community is Nick's job, and he can't turn away a woman in peril—especially when he can't imagine a future without her.

Alison Stone lives in Western New York with my husband of twenty years and our four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book--or writing one. You can find out more information about her on her website, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Thanks for hosting me! I hope everyone reading this has a chance to do something out of their comfort zone this weekend.

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  3. I am not generally a risk taker unless it's important to me. I Went to Kenya to with husband with no concern except being away from our children. We stayed in tents out in the bush. The first morning as we were preparing to go and visit different villages they were talking about dividing up. My husband went with two Keynan men and I was placed with two Kenyan men, one of which spoke English. They helped me jump creeks, climb hills and even killed a snake to protect me. Most amazing experience in my life.

    1. Your adventure sounds wonderful! I would love to travel more. Thanks for sharing.