I have an MFA; genre fiction is beneath me.
I love sci-fi; why should I write anything else?
My stories have to have a romantic angle to them – that’s just the way it is.
I live in LA; screenplays are the only form worth my time.
I’m an established playwright; why should I diverge from my successful path?
All of the above statements are completely ludicrous, yet many writers continue to limit themselves by embracing such ideas.
Many writers will only stick to one type of writing or one style of writing for various reasons, including:
- Achieving success within that style, and wanting to build on that foundation.
- Having a passion for a specific style or form of writing, and thus wanting to put forth their contribution to that style or form.
- A fear that their readers would be confused by a drastic switch in their approach.
There are countless other reasons, but I believe that writers limit themselves if they put themselves in the ghetto of identifying with only one type or style of writing.
While I have achieved a measure of success through publishing my short fiction and poetry, most of which can be labeled as “alternative literature,” I have also written serious literary fiction, science fiction, screenplays, and partnered with nonprofits to begin writing books on art history and esoteric topics. I would hate to be simply seen as a writer of alternative literature who does not know how to write about anything other than sex, the partying culture, and the trappings of “hipster” life in the 21st century. Sure, some people may see me as such because that’s where I have achieved, at present, the most success; however, I would hate to only write within that style for my entire life.
What I believe makes writing such fun is that there are no limits. When you come up with an idea, you can take it in any direction that you want. It seems so boring to me to never challenge yourself beyond one specific niche. I urge all writers to challenge themselves, and embrace different styles and formats. Your writing will only improve when you step outside of your comfort zone.