Reason To Write: To Break The Rules

Alyssa Martino: Steering clear of rebellion? Not for long!

It seems my Reason To Write series has struck a chord with many writers. Today, Alyssa Martino — a copywriter/editor by day and freelance superstar by night (and, I’m assuming, weekends), shares her own story of how writing gives her permission to break the rules. I love her story, because I often feel the same way: I’m a social anxiety-ridden wuss, but writing makes me brave! Without further ado…

If I were someone else, I’d start off this post by telling you about that time I was arrested for stealing a car. Leads are supposed to pull readers in, and I’d surely succeed with my daring tale of rebellion, crime, and excitement — the wind against my cheeks as I sped ahead of the five cop cars zeroing in from a fog-framed highway.

But the truth is, I’ve always lived my life rationally and responsibly. I rarely act without dissecting the relevant consequences and am infrequently careless (unless you count playing a few too many drinking games. It’s okay now, Mom; I’m 23). I’ve probably disobeyed my parents a total of three times and, even then, they were minuscule infractions, like sleeping over at a friend’s house or eating a second brownie. When they found out, Mom and Dad probably just laughed and said, “It’s okay, kiddo. That rule isn’t too important anyway.”

As parents, they’re likely thrilled by my lack of bad behavior… thrilled to have raised a poster child for compliance. But as a nonfiction writer, I worry about being boring. How will I avoid appearing flat and dull on the page?

But that’s a different story altogether. This isn’t a tale of how I write; it’s one of why I write.

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How Writing Forced Me Out of My Comfort Zone

I’ll admit it. Most days, you have to pry me away from the computer screen with a crowbar. I flourish before its dull glow, pretending bravery with every word I type. It’s my safe space. It’s my livelihood. It’s my everything.

People terrify me. It’s why I became a writer. It’s the best way I know of to connect.

But writing can also push you out there. Take you out of your comfort zone. Give you the opportunity to try new things. And — conveniently — this is where the best writing comes from.

This past weekend was more action-packed than it’s been in awhile. In fact, it’s probably the most I’ve been away from a computer screen in eons. It wasn’t my fault, though! I blame the writing.

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