Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

I’m transferring cassettes of songs I wrote in the ’90s to my laptop, and ran across a tape labelled “Anthology of Lameness.”

The lead song is the first one I ever wrote, and it references genocide and Native Americans and is so earnest and overwrought I can barely listen to it now. Also, there’s waaay too much reverb.

But once I get past that, I hear a woman exploring a new art form with curiosity and gusto, having a blast creating just for the fun of it. And even though these early songs are rough, there are plenty of sweet musical moments as well as good lyrics and backing vocals.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone  I have a magnet on my fridge that says “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Let’s jump into that, shall we? I never share such rough work, but today that’s what I’m doing.

Here’s a snippet of a song I wrote in 1994, just me and my guitar, recorded to a little Tascam four-track. The vocal and guitar are super rough, but I love the energy of it. The clip is about a minute long, and the song is called Athena. Like I said, overwrought. πŸ™‚


Ack! I can’t believe I just did that! Hang on while I breathe into a paper bag.

Okay, that’s better.

The thing that cheered me about hearing these songs is they reminded me of that woman working late into the night making music, before she knew what writing a “good” song meant, and before she lost much of that curiosity and gusto to worries about what the industry wanted and what it would take to go pro.

I’m sharing this because you may need a kick in the pants in the curiosity and gusto department, too. When’s the last time you did something that was irresistible but scary, or you made something just for the fun of it, without worrying about how good it was or if there was a market for it?

If your answer is recently, then bravo. Bravo!

But if it’s been longer than that, I’m here to remind you with some much-less-than-great performing and songwriting that everything starts out rough (and, hello, embarrassing), but so what? How does anything great ever get born?

Starting now I’m challenging myself to make something new every single day. I work in a few mediums – writing, photography, singing and songwriting, and crafting jewelry – and I’ll be sharing what I come up with here on the blog, Monday through Friday. Subscribers will get one email a week with links to the new posts, so I don’t flood your inbox.

Want to join me? Let me know what you think about all this in the comments.

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*Graphic by Jack Moreh

This entry was posted in Music and tagged , .


  1. Delores Edwards November 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

    Deonne, I have never written a song and I can’t play the guitar so you are why ahead of me and I heard that energy and sweetness that is you. I love that you are also a musician as well as the artist of other mediums. This is great because I know it takes courage to expose ourselves this way. You are marvelous, Miss Deonne (a heart should be positioned right here) Love you, Delores

    • deonne November 20, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

      Oh, Delores, you are the sweetest. Thank you for this wonderful comment. Love you, too.

  2. Sherry n MT November 20, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Well how do you so my friend who now has a voice. That was super cool and you are so,fraking talented. Cannot wait to,see what transpires. My new thing is working towards a new job and the current scary is…..downsizing. Getting rid of some things is truly scary!

    • deonne November 21, 2017 at 7:24 am #

      Sherry! Thanks for the very kind words and encouragement. Those are some big changes, and I’m wishing you the best of luck plus plenty of grace and fortitude to get through them. It is scary, but you can do this. Much love to you.

  3. Deborah R Dash November 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

    I don’t know if you remember (or if you ever knew) that I play the piano and was a music major back in the day (never finished), and I still play, but not nearly as well as I once did. I thought that was a pretty catchy tune you posted. You said it was just you and your guitar, but it surely sounded like there was a piano in there to me! Maybe it was the reverb? I don’t know anything about recording techniques. LOL Anyway, I was disappointed when it got to the end of the 60 seconds and just … stopped. I wanted to hear the rest! πŸ˜‰ So stop with the whole “oh, that was so scary!” business. I got to about the age of 33 and got over my stage fright when I chaired my 15-year high school reunion and we were giving out prizes, and my co-chair said, “Oh, I don’t want to talk into the microphone.” I said, “I’ll do it!” I realized at that very second that (a) I knew everyone in the room; (b) I was GIVING THEM PRESENTS; and (c) if they didn’t like what I had do say, what did I care? What was the worst that could happen? I had busted my *ss for a YEAR putting together a great party for them at a bargain price, and NOBODY had better look cross-eyed at me! I pretty much quit caring what anyone thought of me at that point, and I’ve never looked back. So you do your thing, and you put it out there, and if people like it, great. And if they don’t, so what?

    *I* liked it. πŸ™‚

    • deonne November 22, 2017 at 7:29 am #

      Deborah – I had forgotten that you played piano, and am so glad you still play! You’re absolutely right about doing your thing and putting it out there, but for me it hasn’t been as easy as that, at least with the unpolished stuff. But I aim to change that, starting yesterday, ha. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement, and I’ll share more music here going forward. Expanding my comfort zone. πŸ™‚

  4. Ron Hagg November 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

    WOW!!! You are SO talented. Love the song. Thanks for this.

    • deonne November 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

      Aw, thanks Ron! Really nice of you to say that, and it was my pleasure (after I got over the terror of it, ha) to share it. I plan to share more music going forward.

  5. Dann November 22, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

    Don’t know what a Tiple is…google it. Great little instrument. Meanwhile, enjoyed the the quotes much.

  6. Dann November 22, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    Hey, please don’t forget….there are a whole bunch of us that simply refuse to do the social nets such as Facebook, etc.

    • deonne November 23, 2017 at 7:12 am #

      Dann – I’d never heard of a tiple, so thanks for the info! I do know some of you aren’t on Facebook, and I understand. Hoping this blog and email are enough. πŸ™‚

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