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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Wednesday's Writing About Writing ~ Where Do You Fit In?
I thought today we'd talk about something that many new writers struggle with: choosing our genre, or where our work fits in.
When I first started braving to share my writing with the world, I really didn't have much clue what area I blended into. I was good with personal essays or the memoir stories but what else is out there for me?
I joined several online and community writing groups (another excellent idea for writers of all levels). Many of my fellow writers who had more experience breaking into the very competitive writing arena advised me to, "stick with what you know". This is great advice because it makes it easier for a writer-in-waiting to take what they know and inspire others in the same area. It kind of makes you an expert on your take of a specific subject. It is also a great way to start the all-important writing platform, which editors look for if/when you decide to write a book. But only writing about what you know can also be a minus in some ways.
First, it type-casts you. Basically, it means when you finally do have the courage to throw yourself into another genre arena, your work may be declined as the editor may not think you'd be able to represent or be taken seriously in a different area. This isn't true of all editors, however, as I have dabbled in many different areas in both fiction and nonfiction. Another minus is that if you only stick to what you know, you'll never come to realize that, "Hey! I can write intelligently about that too." Think about in school when you were assigned to write essays or research projects that you didn't get to choose yourself. It may be scary initially or maybe you don't have any interest in the subject matter but doing this can teach you something new, help you see something from a new perspective or even inspire you to look further into the subject.
I think it's fantastic to stick with what you know at first. I did. But once you've gained a following with what you know, try writing in a genre you enjoy reading and see what happens. That's what I did. And here's a little tip: You can blend what you know into another genre. Fiction is awesome that way.
So, there you go. Start with what you know, be brave enough to take on something that you know little or nothing about and go even further than you thought you believed.
Maybe we'll delve into the different genres over the next few weeks to help you decide. Let me know if you have a specific one in mind that you think should have a bit more of the spotlight.
I hope you enjoyed our first day of our new Wednesday segment. Let us know your thoughts.