Out Of The Box

Life is not a spectator sport; win, lose or draw, the game is in progress whether we want it to be or not. So go ahead, argue with the refs, change the rules, cheat a little, take a break and tend to your wounds. But play hard, play fast, play loose and free; play as if there’s no tomorrow… It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, right? ~Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy


They say that life should not be a spectator sport, but I am often more comfortable living that way. I’d rather watch and listen than get actively involved. Now, don’t go thinking I’m a hermit. I’m not. Well, sometimes maybe I am. But it’s not like I’m not friendly or don’t associate with others or have friends. By all means, I do. I just don’t mind and often prefer to be alone. I also don’t like trying new things. I find comfort in routines. I suppose one could call me a creature of habit.

As of lately, I have been trying to force myself to step outside the box. I am not saying that I am performing irresponsible tasks or being extremely risky. I am merely stepping outside my comfort zone. Mind you, there are many things that I find stressful , mostly because I lack confidence in those areas. I tried (and loved) kayaking. I am even scheduled to fly (which I abhor) to go on a trip in a few months. However, I think my biggest progress has been in putting myself out there in the writing world.

I took my first baby step (which felt like a giant leap!) a year and a half ago by joining a local writers group. I enjoy writing, but I often agonize over it. I never felt I had the talent to produce works that people would actually enjoy or even want to read. Eight months later I opened my blog. I joined a writing community…Yes, I dared to call myself a writer! I even participated in a workshop and am scheduled to attend a writers conference.

Two nights ago, I took it upon myself to try another writers group. It was interesting. It was more of a critique group. They took turns reading their work. I did NOT get up enough nerve to read anything. The majority of the group were sci-fi/fantasy writers which I do not read, write, or even know much about. There was a mystery writer and a horror writer. I was impressed with both of their work. One woman arrived late, and she appeared to be the most intersting one of the group, but she didn’t read. I left before the last one read. The time had been monopolized by a guy who apparently loved his own work and thought he knew how to rewrite everyone elses’. OUCH! Not sure if I want to go back and get mine ripped apart. It doesn’t appear that any of them write the same type of material as I write. I went to a memoir group the next night and no one showed up. Though I was not successful, at least I attempted to step out of my box two more times.

There’s more. I have sent a couple of submissions out and even entered a couple of competitions. I have gotten one submission reply, and my essay/creative nonfiction was accepted. I also received the dreaded notification that I was NOT the winner of a contest. But I didn’t let it get me down. I sent out another submission anyway. The problem with submissions is that they are time consuming, not to mention most places will not accept work published anywhere including a personal blog. Still, I am continuing to put myself out there. I’m sure it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it’s tremendous. I don’t take rejection well. I wallow in it and beat myself to smithereens. I realize that generally we are our own worst critics. I am trying to stifle my inner critic.

I have some bigger projects in the works, and only hope I can keep the confidence to follow them through. The problem is that when I start something I am really excited. The whole idea sounds great…then I get started. I start to lack inspiration and lose confidence. And I drop the ball. I am trying to refocus and not let that happen this time.

So, I am back to life being a spectator sport. Many would call writing a spectator sport. I look and listen. Doesn’t sound as if I am engaged. But yet I am. I am engaged on the page. I live it as I write it, as I struggle for perfection amongst the jumble of ideas and words. I fight with myself. I cry. I love. I fear. I laugh. I live. I write.

25 thoughts on “Out Of The Box

  1. For those of us who prefer to stick largely to the spectator role, stepping out of your comfort zone has to be a once-in-a-while thing, I think. If we do it all the time, we have a nervous breakdown. If we never do it, we stagnate. I think you’re striking a good balance.

  2. It is always nice to step out and experience new things. Even if some of those experiences we look back on and wish we hadn’t, but if we hadn’t then we would never know it wasn’t for us.

    Good luck with your submissions!

  3. That’s part of having a full life, isn’t it? Sometimes stepping out and trying something different. Sticking your neck out to see what kind of response you get. Good luck with your submissions! From what I’ve read and seen, I think it’s a long haul, but if you make it – oh what a wonderful victory!

  4. Stepping out of our comfort zones is such a great thing to do. It is something that must be done in order for us to pursue our goals.

    Writing is very much alive. After all, how can one write about life without living their own?

  5. Oh, keeping that confidence going – it can be so tough! But I have a feeling you’re going to persevere.

    Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone. I think it’s something we should all do more often. It can be scary, but good things often result.

  6. I don’t think I can go through a day without your writing these day’s….never ever give up Suzi!!! You have such talent…we all sometimes have to step outside that comfort zone…which is not easy….but never give up my friend…..I enjoy you so very much!! xxx

  7. You may not have full confidence in yourself, but we have confidence in you. I’ve been reading you long enough to see that you have real talent, and I know you’re going to be able to put it to all kinds of uses.

    Don’t shut yourself down. The world needs writers like you. :))

  8. I think it’s a big thing! You can’t expect yourself to attend a new writer’s group and read on the first (or even fifth) visit–that’s just too much! I’m proud of you. One thing you might think about is going back to the sci/fi-ish group and approaching the one woman you thought seemed interesting. She might be willing to meet one-on-one with you and critique that way?

    Congrats on your bravery and your accepted submission!

  9. “Still, I am continuing to put myself out there. I’m sure it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it’s tremendous. ”

    It sure IS a big deal, and I admire you for putting yourself out there. And not just about your writing, but for all the things you’re stepping outside the box on. Brava!

    Like I shared in a post a few weeks ago, we as writers ARE writers….simply because we WRITE.

    And YOU, dear lady….write so WELL!

    Congrates on your accepted publication!!!! I am sooooo happy for you!

    You GO, girl!


  10. * HUGS * Suzicate, it inspires me. YOU inspire me. I am terrified of my writing, that it just plain stinks. When I read your blog, and I read how opitimistic you are and how you are willing (even thought it uncomfortable) to put yourself out there? It inspires me to do the same. It inspires me to try. So thank you! You truly are a Fruit Loop. 😉

  11. ‘I live. I write.’

    Love that! It’s so you and I am so amazed at your progression and dedication. I can relate so well to your feelings (always have). I can’t imagine how hard that was to submit and wait for the return answer. Truly gut wrenching.

    Congratulations on the acceptance of TWO!!

    Well done, and I can’t wait to say, “I KNOW her!”


  12. I totally pictured Meredith Grey reading that first paragraph. Sounds like something she would say.

    You are a great writer. I could never join a writer’s group, I’m too afraid of what people would have to say….

  13. I love how you describe your journey in writing. Relating it to a sport gives it more of a competitive edge, but it also gives it a sense of teamwork. I remember when I was in wrestling that my mom told me not to worry about being the best, but getting the most out of it. It appears that you are getting the most out of your writing and am being an inspiration to others as well.

  14. I am impressed. I think you are doing great to step out of your box! It is not easy and that you are doing it is great!

    Thank you for sharing the fact that you think about a project and are you are excited then when you get started on it your feelings change. I do that all the time. I have so many post started but not finished. Sounds great in my head, then I start to put it in a readable form and I think, “What was I thinking?” But you know what I think when this happens? I think, “Gosh, it so easy for Suzicate. I wish I could write like her.” Funny, huh? I think of you and your posts an inspiration!

    You keep doing what your doing! And thanks!

  15. Congratulations on stepping out of the box! As writers, it is so hard to press the submit button, but I am so glad you took that plunge. I have a writer friend that prides herself on the number of rejections she receives. She believes that it will pave the way to acceptance someday. And you know what? She was right. She has now over 50 published pieces.

  16. Congratulations, on stepping out of the box. Opening the box, those first steps are the toughest part … then the waiting for acceptance/rejection is painful. However, don’t you think that when you finally share your new endeavor with others .. that is what makes it real?
    I took some first steps this summer, too … I submitted photos to an art contest for the first time and did not tell anyone … I was accepted and the reception at the studio was fun because I then shared it with others .. I did not win (this time … I will try again – it was exciting). I hope you continue putting yourself out there.

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