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Is it Good or Bad to Write in Multiple Genres?

I write in multiple genres and have often wondered if that's bad or good for me as a writer. Many other writer's I've met have had a more narrow approach to their writing. Like sticking mainly to poetry or sci-fi or crime novels.

Personally, I felt I was all wrong in multiple-genre approach to my writing believing that focusing on a single genre might help one develop the skills for their writing faster and better than I could as I bounced around from genre to genre in practice.

On my journey of self-discovery, I've found writing in multiple genres has increased my creativity and in fact has made me a better writer. But I was wondering if that's really or thing or something I'm wrongfully surmising. So I decided to take a deeper look into it all.

Writing in multiple genres is a versatile and dynamic approach to creating that involves producing work in various categories or styles. I had always seen my genre fliting as a means to explore different themes, tones, and techniques. In fact, I felt it could showcase my adaptability and expanding my skillsets. But what it really did was hone my method of writing, my literary voice, and tamed the "I can't"s in my head.

Here are some key aspects of my multi-genre practice:

Diverse Expression

I primarily write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science fiction, mystery, middle-grades, and memoir. Each genre offers unique opportunities for storytelling and artistic expression.

I love writing with the characters of stories walking through my brain as I get their thoughts and dialog on the page. But I also love it when a poem figuratively drips out of my head and onto the page.

I get giddy conjuring up ghosts in middle-grades fiction and relaying the fear and shivers my characters get. And, I find it wonderful to dream up out-of-this-world experiences in science fiction and exploring my deep, deep feeling in writing memoir.

While memoir can be painful, it seems necessary for me, as it has clearly improved my mental health.

All these experiences bring me to a better understanding of how to communicate on the page the ideas, thoughts, and feelings I'm trying to convey.

Audience Engagement

I believe writing in multiple genres can attract a broader audience since different genres appeal to different readers. A writer who excels in multiple genres can connect with a wider demographic, enhancing their reach and impact. But also it can lead to deeper exploration of my craft and trying to better understand my varying audiences. Which can only be a good thing, right?

Skill Development and Cross-Pollination

As I mentioned earlier, I do believe switching between genres challenges me as a writer. It requires learning the conventions and nuances of each genre, which seems like it can lead to improved writing skills and a deeper understanding of storytelling techniques. Plus, improving my skills, greatly improves my belief in myself as a writer and in my self-confidence.

It's happened to me, I'm writing in one genre and remember a situation or skill I had learned while writing in a different genre. I massage that skill or method to see if can work in this genre too. Sometimes it can and I have a eureka moment. Other times it just doesn't seem to work. But that's part of the learning and skill building. Writing in a single-focus genre just doesn't seem like it could produce these opportunities.

Writing in multiple genres can also lead to cross-pollination of ideas and techniques. For example, skills acquired in writing poetry, such as crafting vivid imagery and wordplay, can enhance a writer's ability to create engaging prose or dialogue.

Challenging Stereotypes

By far, this has been one of the greatest sticking points in my writing journey.

When I first started taking myself seriously as a writer I was constantly asked to pigeon-hole my genre. I had to choose one, all the time. It was frustrating and nearly debilitating me as a writer.

I write because I love it and get so much intellectual stimulation from doing it. I felt like having to choose a specific genre stifled me as a writer and pushed me in a corner. And, in terms of the industry, it does just that, and that's the point. That's the reason publishing houses have many editors, each focusing on their genre preferences.

So here's the deal. I kept writing and in multiple genres. Eventually, I realized the difference. It's perfectly right to write in multiple genres. But when it comes to marketing, you had better be able to decide which genre team you are on and focus all your efforts there.

Another reason I love the fact that I write in multiple genres is because I feel like it breaks down stereotypes and preconceived notions about a writer's identity or capabilities are based on which genre they write in. Good writing is good writing, no matter the genre label.

Artistic Evolution

I won't even compare myself to the many fabulous and amazing musicians that we've known, but look at it closely and you'll see, many of them explore their artistic evolution. They genre jump too. As do many other types of artists as they explore and challenge themselves.

Writers who explore multiple genres may undergo significant artistic evolution too over time. This is a wonderful thing when it happens. Embrace the collective creativity artistic evolution brings with it.

Exploring different genres can be personally fulfilling and intellectually stimulating. It encourages writers to step out of their comfort zones, take creative risks, and gain a broader perspective on storytelling and human experiences. Writing in multiple genres is a creative journey that offers writers the opportunity to diversify their portfolio, challenge themselves, and expand their artistic horizons. It is a practice that can lead to personal growth, improved writing skills, and a deeper connection with not only themselves but more diverse audiences too.

So I say, if you have not yet explored multiple genres in your writing, it's time to step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and find the heart of craft.

Do you write in multiple genres or stick to focusing on one main genre?

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