Genre-writers put lots of practice into their particular camp genre and they get better at that genre. It’s simple. But there may be a downside. This has the potential of being somewhat limiting to that writer’s skill growth. This can make that writer’s writing seem flat. For more rounded prose, it’s time to do and learn something new.
Horror writers, meet romance writers!
Expanding Your Horizons
If comfort zones feel like home, we all need to pack our bags and head out to the unknown. Many of us tend to stay on the path of least resistance as far as what genres we’re comfortable writing and which we’re not. Writing in foreign genres may prove to be a valuable exercise to improve your writing in your usual genre. Pushing yourself to your limits as a writer expands your wealth of knowledge and ability. Think about it in terms of a musician. A musician doesn’t grow as a musician by playing the same song over and over again. They get better at playing that song. To really improve, they need to push themselves to their limits. The same goes for any craft, and doubly so for writing.
Genre Writing as a Release
Do you feel like a vampire some days? An action hero? A damsel? Switching between genres to match the moods we find ourselves in from day to day is a great way to address those moods. Writing horror stories on your darkest days may help us explore those feelings inside us that we’re trying to get down on paper. Even if you’re not a horror writer, writing down those thoughts and emotions through the lens of one will help you use those same thoughts for your home genre. At the very least, if those thoughts and feeling are getting in the way of your usual writing projects, exploring other genres may expunge those moods and get you back on track. Switching genres aside, if you find yourself in the dreaded writer’s block abyss, it’s always a good idea to simply write something else – anything really.
Becoming the Versatile Professional
Need some extra cash? Of course you do. What if we could write for money while pursuing your personal creative work? What a novel idea! Sorry about the pun. Write that werewolf novel! Ghostwrite teen romance novels! Write erotica about strange things! There’s a market for everything and someone is writing for that market. That someone might as well be you. Writing in different genres will make a writer more skilled in those particular genres. Funny how practice works. But, once you’re done writing all that wizard fan fiction as practice for your usual writing, what do you do with it? Publish it! The thing may sell itself if it satisfies a niche market’s desires. And, the truth is, sometimes it’s not the work that your proudest or that readers love the most.
Get out there and explore the darker areas of your abilities, and expand your craft. Try something new today instead of the same old – you may find what you like. And, whatever you do, never stop writing.