There’s no shortage of blogs, articles, books, etc. that will try to helpfully steer writers toward telling stories for a niche that will make them successful. Some say you should stick to literary fiction, because it’s the only genuine art of writing. Others claim literary fiction is too pretentious, so it should be avoided at all costs. If you’re a genre writer, you have an entire buffet to choose from – and sometimes that makes things harder than ever!
The problem with listening to people’s advice on what genres to write in and which to avoid is that you can often miss what your soul wants to write.
Stereotypes Hold Us Back
We do this to ourselves, too. It’s difficult to come to writing without preconceived notions – not just toward storytelling, but toward ourselves. We can tend to fit ourselves in a box and say that because we are this or that, we must write this way or that way, or not at all. For example, Christians must write Christian fiction and nothing else. Only Young Adults (30 and under) should write YA. It takes a disturbed person to write horror and a desperate housewife to write romance. Fanfiction writers aren’t talented enough to write REAL stories at all.
The problem with those stereotypes, as with any other, is that they alienate the people who don’t fit the norm. They isolate and divide. And they can cause us to question ourselves and our place in our niche, when in fact we really, really shouldn’t.
Own Your Place in Your Genre of Choice
This week, my encouragement to all of you is to bust the box wide open. If you haven’t already done it, find the genre, or genres, where you really flourish – whether that’s Literary Fiction, YA, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, or something else. Find the place where your writing truly excels, and write unashamedly in that capacity. And then experiment with others, too! Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that because you’re too [blank], or not [blank] enough, you should not be writing in any genre.
Keep working. Keep honing your craft, and above all else, trust your metric. When your heart sings and the inspiration flows, that’s when you know you’ve found a genre that draws out your innermost talent. And now there’s only one thing left to do: go wild.