Let’s Talk with Tina Whittle

Beyond the Comfort Zone
By Tina Whittle

Tina with azaleasWrite what you know, they say. Unfortunately, “what I know” is pretty boring stuff. So I make it a point to expose myself to new and interesting things. I’ve attended the Writer’s Police Academy on multiple occasions, shooting up bad guys in the firearms simulation room and clearing rooms on mock SWAT raids. I’ve attended workshops on cemetery symbolism and ghost hunting, knife attacks and archeological best practices. I’ve put a Ferrari through its paces on an agility course and attended Confederate reenactments.

And now I’ve taken up boxing.

I’ll admit, my initial interest was research-based. My series protagonists are both fighters—Trey is a former cop trained in Krav Maga and Tai is a combative redneck trained in various brawls—and it’s nice to get into their heads and enjoy the visceral pleasure of beating things up (even if my opponent is a heavy weight bag and not a villain). But I am discovering that I also enjoy boxing. I like the physical challenge, the sweat and exertion that comes from testing my perceived limits.

My enthusiasm for the sport proved contagious. After listening to my praise, our local Sisters in Crime chapter—Low Country Sisters in Crime­—will be attending a gloves-on workshop with Martin Cornejo, my boxing instructor. Martin is an exceptional boxer, a two-time national champion in his native Peru. He is also an exceptional coach, with several students who have gone on to Golden Gloves championships.

Martin’s approach is very painstaking—he is a believer in details. Before any of his students put on a glove, he showed us how wrap our hands correctly. During class, we typically practice some non-contact sparring and defensive techniques. He demonstrates proper stance and technique, including both blocks and punches, and then put us through speed drills and freestyle sessions at the bag.

It was a new experience for me, but now I find that I crave that adrenaline rush and the good exhaustion that comes after a great workout. What about you? What experiences have taken you out of your comfort zone?

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Comments

  1. I’ve only been on a horse twice in my life, but that was WAAAY out of my comfort zone. Horse are like army tanks with personality. And teeth and hooves.

  2. maggietoussaint says

    I like the idea of boxing, making it gentlemanly and sporting and all that, but when you get down to it, you’re punching or kicking someone. That minor burst of wisdom came after my family became beginning karate students and we were told we had to spar as part of class. We got all the protective gear but it didn’t stop 7 year olds from scoring hits all over me. I wasn’t lightning fast, didn’t want to be there, and bailed as soon as I could. I did like the choreography of the forms. Maybe I have a future in Tai Chi.

    • You are right, of course. One of the reasons I like this class — besides the fact that as it turns out, I really DO like punching things — is that my opponent is a heavy weight bag, not another person. And a weight bag doesn’t hit back.

  3. I was out of my comfort zone staying overnight at the haunted Jerome Hotel in Arizona. We’d taken the ghost tour of this former hospital for copper miners, and now were left to explore on our own with various pieces of ghost hunting tools. Lots of guests had creepy experiences that they recorded in a ledger displayed in the lobby. Fortunately, I went to sleep and wasn’t disturbed by any ghosts. My camera, though, recorded many orbs in that place.

    • I’ve always been pretty comfortable around ghosts (or maybe I should say, the potential for ghosts, as I’ve never actually seen one to my knowledge). Dealing with people in the flesh and blood is much more challenging for me!

  4. I’m with Jim on the marketing thing. I was brought up to stay in the background, not call attention to myself. It’s like I have to pretend to be someone else when I’m trying to promote. But as far as the writing part — I spent a week on a cattle ranch doing research for my current series. Sitting on horseback all day was really out of my “comfort” zone!

    • jmjackson054 says

      My backside feels your pain. For Cabin Fever, I went out barefoot in the middle of a driving snowstorm with temperatures hovering around zero Fahrenheit in order to observe how long it took for footprints to drift in. By the time I walked a hundred yards in the snow, I struggled to put on socks because I couldn’t feel my feet.

  5. jmjackson054 says

    As an author, I wander way past my comfort zone each time I have to self-promote. And today (10/20) is another of those days where I am hosting a Facebook Party/Chat from 2-4 EDT at https://www.facebook.com/Bookiesfan/

    Hope over and join the fun and be eligible to win copies of my books.