I had a revelation recently, and it took some time for me to come to peace with it. But now I have, and I think I’m better off for it. Maybe time will tell even more, but I feel better. I feel like I’m past the time of confusion and frustration, and bound toward a more hopeful future.
So what in the world was my revelation about?
Writing, my friends. Writing and genre and how it’s okay if you don’t read what you write.
Let’s back up; here’s what my situation was. A few years ago, I rediscovered my love of reading (when I finally had more time to read, around the time I first started this blog). And I absolutely DEVOURED a number of popular fantasy series from the past few years that I’d missed out on during my dry spell (*cough*and everything Brandon Sanderson ever wrote *cough*). I became obsessed with fantasy novels, and rightly so! They were and are amazing! I got a ton of delight out of reading them.
Not only that, I would finish a book and feel inspired to write something so amazing, something that could evoke such deep feeling from a reader. That itch grew and grew until finally I tried to take up writing again. I started to develop a book idea involving time travel and a fantasy world. I wrote a few thousand words.
And then I hit a wall.
It just wasn’t working. I felt lost with it and couldn’t see myself moving forward with it. So I set it aside, and well, a few months later, I went through the same cycle again: developed an idea, wrote a bit, and eventually realized it was NOT working for me.
I was honestly sort of crushed. I wanted to write–it’s always been a dream of mine to be a published writer, and I desperately want to make it happen! But how could I do that if I couldn’t even write the first few chapters of a book I spent months planning? Even worse, I knew what it was like to plan a story and write it as if the words flew from my mind onto the page, with no problems, an endless flow of inspiration, and great joy and satisfaction when I wrote the final word. I wanted that again. But how to get it?
I didn’t realize how until I took a step back. My best writing experiences, to date, have come when I wrote contemporary fiction. I absolutely love fantasy, reading and watching, but I don’t think I have the right brain to conceptualize a brand new world and pull it off satisfactorially. So, I thought, what if I went back to contemporary fiction? What if, instead of the epic fantasy and extreme worldbuilding and complex magic, I dialed it back to family drama and coming of age and sweet romance?
The outcome? A happy Brianne.
I’ve been working on my new project during the month of April, and I feel like if I haven’t quite recaptured the pure joy I’ve experience while writing on the rare occasion, I’m damn close. Writing these past two weeks has not been a chore, it’s been exciting and fun. I set a goal of 1,000 words a day, and it’s never been easier to crank that out in half an hour before work every morning. I almost can’t believe how easy it is.
But that’s what has proved to me that it’s all okay. Maybe it’s even meant to be. I can love fantasy novels, and I can write contemporary fiction. What I learn from and enjoy in the fantasy genre, I can still apply to contemporary fiction to infuse a new flavor into it. You can learn about craft and good storytelling from any genre.
So, my opinion? Write what you want and read what you want, if that’s what makes you happy.
Someday, I hope I’ll be able to pull off an epic fantasy novel, but for now, I’m happy right where I’m at.
What are your thoughts? Can your reading genre and your writing genre be completely different?
Until next time,