Category: For Writers

Writing Across Genres

Writing Across Genres

As someone with a pretty wild imagination, I find myself drawn to fiction writing. I love making up stories and watching characters develop and make decisions in their worlds which I’ve created for them.

But as a Christian who loves to help people, I also love writing what I have experienced, what I know and how to apply it in other’s lives to help them along their journey in life. I’ve also read that it is important that authors stick to one genre so there is no confusion for the audience which makes it easier for the agency/publishing company to brand and sell your books.

Hmmm, this is a disappointing discovery. So I started searching online to see what information I could find about writing in multiple genres or fiction vs. non-fiction. My heart was lifted when I read some of the blogs below addressing these questions.

Concerning the execution of writing in different genres, here are two key thoughts that I love from Joel Friedlander’s blog The Book Designer:

But ultimately, your goal is to link your name to an organic and dynamic brand that’s based on you and arouses a positive, emotional experience for your targeted readership–regardless of genre.

It’s your style, your unique voice, and the combination of recurrent themes, character types, settings, and ideas that make up the familiar elements characteristic to your writing.

-The Book Designer

Click on the link above to read the full article – it’s encouraging. As a writer, I don’t have to be stuck in one niche when I have so many ideas floating around in my head. It’s a natural bridge that I’m looking for and one that will come about organically because if people know from the start that I write in different genres, then it won’t be like a betrayal or that I’m trying to be something I’m not – it will be I already am. Well, I hope anyway~

So in trying to think about this for myself – we as writers all go through this when we are starting out – I would be writing Christian non-fiction and Suspense fiction. I can’t see how in the world this could possibly work but sometimes you don’t see how the future will pan out until you get to the fork in the road.  Here’s another perspective from Rachelle Gardner:

It’s a little different if you’re talking about writing both fiction and non-fiction. If you want to do this, understand that you’ll be working to build two different audiences simultaneously. Sure, there may be some crossover, but you can’t count on it.

-Rachelle Gardner

My plan is to seek representation for my Christian non-fiction and submit to individual magazine publications for the fiction short stories. We’ll see how well this works out for me – that’s one thing about starting this blog – I’ll have a history of what works and what doesn’t.  I believe everyone’s path is different and there are many ways to get from point A to point B. You just have to choose the one that best suits you – and then go for it!

Launching a Writing Career Part II

Launching a Writing Career Part II

So now that you’ve got your writing software, you’ve been practicing writing in a journal or similar way just to get the wheels spinning again and you’ve learned a bit about writing and the industry, where do you go from here?

It’s time to start exploring what type of genre and what type of books you want to write. And the only way you’ll find this out is by reading books and practice writing about the things that interest you. So here are 5 ways that you can set out on the next leg of the journey.

1. Buy a Writer’s Market Guide

This is an excellent guide to publishers and agents that will help you connect to the outlets and venues for which to submit your work. You can read about what the magazine or publishing company is looking for, details about length and subject matter. The Writer’s Market provides contact information to send queries and a whole lot of other great details to get you started. It’s organized in a way that if you want to write about travel, you look up Travel in the table of contents and you have a whole handful of magazines that would accept articles on your traveling adventures. Or if you are a scientist and want to write an article on your profession, just look up the info and take your pick.

2. Look up writing competitions online and enter them.

Sometimes writers will enter contests to challenge themselves, never intending to actually submit what they’ve written. But I enjoy the anticipation of entering a contest, no matter the odds, and it gives me something to think about besides pushing paper around on a desk all day. This will increase your writing proficiency and challenge you to work on a deadline. Also, the more you write the more you will begin to develop your voice and craft.  There are contests for short stories, novels and poetry.

3. Start a blog or website

This is a great way to get into the habit of writing and to build a fun community of people who love what you love. My other blog, Ebeye Island: A Spacious Place, I started in 2008 just before I left for the Marshall Islands for two years. The blog has been super fun with people commenting and enjoying all the photos and adventures we had on the island and with the Marshallese. It was so much fun and a great tool to keep me writing and in touch with people.

4. Join a local critique group

You may have some trial and error here to get exactly what your looking for. Some groups will focus more on reading and sharing than critiquing, others on networking and sharing information about events and activities but mostly it’s a great way to meet up with people who have similar goals and interests. Just make sure the majority of your time is spent writing – because that’s what it’s all about. Everything else is in support of that dream.

5. Create a cozy little writer’s nook and set it up with the essentials

I find writing in my living room on the couch is a recipe for distraction. The only desk I had at the time was covered in art supplies, canvases, turpentine and a stack of bills I didn’t want to file away. The rest of the room was no better organized – paint cans, stretchers, cleaning supplies, tubs and bins – it was a big storage room. So, I determined to clean it all out and put things away properly. I cleaned off the desk and bought an average comfy office chair and this is now my writer’s nook.

 

Hopefully these few baby steps can help someone just starting out to get your feet under you and have firm ground from which to launch. These simple things can really help you start learning about writing and give you a bit of confidence so you can begin to make your own success out there in this industry.

 

Launching a Writing Career: One Small Step at a Time

Launching a Writing Career: One Small Step at a Time

The idea of launching a writing career was overwhelming to me. Until I started looking for all the small ways I could get my feet wet.  Writing in general was a hard habit to restart. It takes hard work and determination. It’s not a leisurely past time hobby. I just determined within myself one day that I wanted to go for it; that I had something to say and I was going to get it down on paper in case it might help others in some small way.

Here are 5 simple things I did to jump start my rusty writing engines and get the spark back into my dream:

1. Upgrade your computer. 

Sounds petty but it isn’t. The computer I had been using cost me $250 four years ago. It is a clunker. The hinge had broken loose on the flip top screen, it was bulky, heavy and the keypad and built-in mouse were atrocious. A bundle of frustration. I knew I needed something better if I was going to take this writing craft seriously. Lighter, more portable and a much more comfortable keypad and responsive mouse take the frustration out of utilizing the tool to get my writing done.

2. Acquire a good writing software program to assist in organizing your projects.

This is so important. I happened to go with Scrivner. You can do some research and get the best software for your needs and preferences. Scrivener was a God-send. The ability to point and click to a chapter, rearrange, delete whole sections – all this without scrolling through hundreds of pages to find my place in a word doc – was just what I needed to ease the pain of minor details and get to the fun creative stuff! Invest in a software program, you will be happy you did.

3. Open a blank project that will be a stream of conscience or journal so-to-speak

So once you get that awesome writer’s tool, open up a blank project and start typing away. This is very important to get all the rust out and begin to flow in writing again. I simply leave this project open at all times and whenever I need to loosen the brain and fingers I start typing. No particular idea in mind, no structure and no cares for typos – just pure brain to fingers word-spill. Write about whatever you want – the carpet in front of you, your pets, the phone or show you watched last night – doesn’t matter just get those fingers typing and the brain exercising.

Simple as that. Once I get the rust off, I move on to my serious writing projects.

4. Start reading as much as you can about writing; just start reading anything that tickles your fancy. To write, one must read. 

I’ve found the internet to be an extremely helpful tool. Anything you want to know about agents, publishers, statistics, pros and cons, you name it – if you have a question the internet has an answer. Make sure the answers your getting are echoed by more than one individual who is an expert in the field and you can be pretty certain the info is accurate.

And books about writing. I started with Stephen King’s On Writing and it has kicked me in the pants and inspired me to get on with it. For me, it takes a good mix of how-to and inspirational gusto to keep the fires going.

5. Get thyself to a writer’s conference.

I signed up for the Kentucky Writer’s Conference which will be taking place this month. I’m looking forward to connecting with other writers and pitching an agent – that should be fun! But practice makes perfect – if all else fails you take away from your experiences and fix mistakes for future opportunities.  Chose a conference that will teach interest you. The one I’m attending is not so much writing workshops as it is the publishing industry and how to navigate it.

Keep writing brave and fearless cadets – we’re all in this together, might as well have fun as we go!

 

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