Friday, February 10, 2012

Writing Outside of Your Genre

This semester at school I enrolled in a Creative Writing class, not exactly sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised that the class consisted of doing writing prompts and simply writing, which was much appreciated since I do not have much time at home to write. One of things I find helpful about this class is that it has taught me to write outside of my comfort zone.

Almost everyday we do a new writing prompt, or two, and then sometimes we expand on it in the computer lab. Now, this exercise can be anything from poetry, to short fiction, to creative nonfiction--anything really. Since I am generally a fiction writer, this was uncomfortable for me at first, but soon I saw the importance of writing outside of my genre. Recently, with my few forays into poetry, nonfiction and the like, I have had an influx of ideas. Book and story ideas have been showing up out of nowhere, and it is great!

This whole experience showed me how important it is to write outside of your genre. I know there are some of you who are nonbelievers, just like I was a few weeks ago, but this exercise really works. I thought I was completely content with my fiction writing and that was that, but it did not help me grow. What really made me grow was reaching out of my comfort zone and stretching my creative muscles. As my teacher says, “It doesn’t have to be pretty or sparkly, you just have to try.” Which is true. My attempts at poetry were absolute garbage, but they still opened my eyes in a way that writing in just my genre could not have done on its own.

So, next time you find yourself in a creative rut, try writing something outside of your expertise, whether that’s fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry, or anything in between. You may think what you wrote is horrible, or you might like it. Either way, I guarantee the writer’s block you thought was impassable will now seem completely inconsequential.

Have you ever written outside of your genre? Did it help you get past your writer’s block?


Patricia Stoltey said...

And now's the time to experiment with genres, Dylan. Later on, when you get published, it's too easy to get slotted in one genre with a book contract and find you don't have time to explore. Sounds like your creative writing class is a good one.

Dylan Book Reader said...

It certainly is a good creative writing class. Thank you for the heads up, I will make sure to do all of my exploring ahead of time and find out which genre I truly like best. Thank you for commenting!

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