Reclaiming My Comfort Zone

I’ve been in the process of moving for the past four (yes, you read that right, four) months. Between making the decision to pick up and head to another part of the country, cleaning out our old home and putting it on the market, shipping off my husband to start his new job, squeezing together in a temporary apartment for a while, and then finally (finally, finally) getting settled in the new house, it’s been…well, a trial.

And my writing has suffered. Big time.

I’m a creature of habit, and being uprooted threw everything out of whack. I’m used to having my space, my things, my routines, and the biggest challenge of the past few months has been working to create an environment I can work in amidst the chaos.

In the end, the little things have been the most important. I reinstituted my old habit of going outside for some fresh air and quiet space to think before sitting down to write. I shifted my writing hours to even later in the day so I had the cramped little apartment we were stuck in between houses more or less to myself. I listened to music more and at higher volumes. I broke down and bought a lamp so I could have comfortable lighting.

I read a lot. I plotted.

I adjusted my expectations.

It just so happened that the novel I’d been working on when it came time to move was something way outside my comfort zone – one with a hero who was a little snarkier and less emotionally available than the ones I tend to gravitate toward, one with a heroine who was less damaged. The pace was different, and with everything in my head off-kilter, I finally had to admit to myself that it wasn’t the right story for me to be working on right then. I tabled it and switched to another outline I’d been meaning to get around to – one populated with characters I have an easier time getting into the heads of.

Instead of expecting my usual twenty-five thousand words per month, I took what came, and saw every word I managed to wring out of my twisted-up brain as the gift it was.

In the end, I didn’t get nearly as much done as I usually do, but I accepted that.

As of this week, I’m officially moved into my new house. There’s a lot of work to do there to turn it into a home, but one of the first things I made sure to do was to set up my office. I have my space again, and I have some quiet. I have space in my head again. And I’m ready to work hard to keep it and make the most of it.

With any luck, I’ll be able to reclaim my comfort zone. And with it, hopefully, my word count, too.

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