I am completely taken with the novel All the Birds in the Sky and by completely taken, I mean obsessed. I've read it twice, and I want there to magically be a film adaptation tomorrow. In a pitifully small nutshell, this sci-fi fantasy romp that places the magical and the technological world s head to head in a brutal battle for power. Add a Romeo and Juliet-esque complication, and I was sold by page three.
But this isn't just a plug for the novel, although if you're reading this I expect you to go get a copy ASAP. This is, however, a huge plug for genre-jumping. And if you're already putting up your nose saying I don't DO fantasy or sci-fi, I especially charge you to try it. Minimally try a genre that you may enjoy but have never attempted for the following reasons:
1 - You will have to learn. As writers we ought to be learning constantly through our reading and workshops. Through mentor texts and interaction with authors. Unfortunately too many writers feel that their voices and styles are fixed somewhere after college and don't necessarily try to evolve.
2 - Genres need to be challenged, too. Perhaps you can bring new flair to an established medium. Your personal style and voice paired with a new genre might just open up a new space for authors to write in.
3 - We don't know until we try. It's impossible to know what you're good at it without flopping here and there. What if children's lit is your thing, or perhaps gritty detective narratives will allow your skills at setting creation to flourish.
4 - You won't be bored. Ever feel like you're writing the same story over and over again? Do characters nefariously appear and relive their plot like Groundhog Day? It's tougher to do that in a different genre, and it forces your brain to be creative in a different way.
5 - It's fun to fail! Ok, maybe not fun but we all need more practice and we learn more from what doesn't work than what does. Write a historical piece and see what you learn. Maybe research isn't your thing, or perhaps developing a not-so-modern voice doesn't gel with your voice. That's ok, and now you know.
Ultimately I think one of the most attractive things about the writing life is the ability to continue to grow, defying age, defying physicality, and defying resources. It is truly a craft accessible to everyone with a bit of elbow grease and determination.
Writing has always been an escape, a passion, and a friend. And I love the fact that in my free time and through my career I can help others discover their voice, too.