Sunday, March 28, 2010

Multiple Personalities Unite!

I'm having a writer's identity crisis. Highlights accepted and will be publishing an easy reader story of mine, an editor is considering my middle grade historical, and I've written a YA murder mystery and am presently writing a YA dystopian sci-fi. I am not so confident that I think that I can do it all. But I do love it all. Should I follow only what I've had success in? Or should I write stories that I love and embrace my split personality?
If you haven't been writing very long, then I recommend you write what you love, and write a lot of all of it.

If you have been writing for a while, then my experience is this: some writers really do write for all kinds of age groups successfully. If you're one of those, congratulations.

And other writers, having written all the genres and age groups that they love for some time, look back on that writing and realize that while they love all those genres and age groups equally, their writing has been strongest in one or two of them.

It's easy to love what you're working on now, or have recently finished. But the manuscript you're still really proud of after you've written several more can tell you something powerful about who you are as a writer. And if you figure that out, congratulations indeed.

8 comments:

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Thanks for this, EA. I'm going through a bit of a genre crisis at the moment so to hear this sort of advice was really good for me right now. I'll be posting your quote about being proud of a manuscript after writing several more in my writing space for motivation and encouragement.

Melinda Szymanik said...

the thing I'm most proud of has been the least successful. I'm confused

Editorial Anonymous said...

Melinda,
What are you most proud of about it? Write more like that.

wonderer said...

Love this advice. I'm still in the experimenting stage -- have written YA secondary-world fantasy, adult secondary-world fantasy, adult urban fantasy, adult steampunk, and adult historical paranormal. I'm hoping that eventually one area will jump out at me, but until then, I'm having fun.

stacy said...

EA, I love you, and you give great advice here, but please tell me you understand the difference between schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. This is a personal frustration for me, because I have a family member who has schizophrenia, which involves auditory and visual hallucinations and sometimes paranoia, but does not involve thinking that you're several different people. (It's this common misconception that makes mystery stories about mentally ill people as the perpetrators so frustrating to me--if you can't get the diagnosis right, why would I believe the underlying motive?)

I realize it's tangential, but it annoys me enough to say something about it.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Duly noted, Stacy!
:)

Alison Stevens said...

It's so good to know that others are in a similar boat. I'm working on picture books, poetry, and a YA novel and have been wondering if I should continue to work on all of it or narrow my focus.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Very helpful, EA. I needed to hear this, because you've added an extra thought about the pride in ones work.

Always learning, always dreaming, always writing.