Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When a Runner Lifts Weights (Writing in Multiple Genres)

Photo by Alex Cheek from Sydney, Australia
I like to run.  I also like to write.  Lifting weights really isn't my thing; however, I learned that something interesting happens when a runner lifts weights: you become a better runner.

Writing in a new genre is like lifting weights.  When I first began writing I wrote what was easiest for me: science articles.  I love writing science articles for children.  There are enough fascinating and bizarre subjects that children are eager to read about that I could be happy writing science articles for the rest of my life!  Then I started writing science-related picture books.

I discovered a new and exciting world of possibilities.  A few years later, I tried something else new.  I started writing fiction picture books, and more exciting worlds entered my little universe.  More years have passed.  Last week I was feeling particularly brave and decided to try writing a middle grade novel.  Why not?  I couldn't think of a good reason.  I've even found at least one benefit.  At times it's like lifting weights.  (Other times it's just fun and exciting.  Period.)  Trying to write in other genres has made me a better writer in my preferred genres (picture books and articles). 

Maybe someday I'll even be a great novelist.  After all, if you lift weights long enough, you can get pretty good.

Do you write in more than one genre?  Does it feel like exercise?  I'd love to know!


Many thanks to Murees at Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer for passing on the Stylish Blogger award to me!  I am truly honored!


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great analogy! I write chapter books and picture books. I recently began researching for a middle grade novel, and yes!! it feels like a lot of work. :-)

nutschell said...

I wish I could love running as much as you. I'm sure I'd be a lot healthier. :P wonderful analogy you have there. Writing about anything and in any form will certainly only make us better writers.

Lynda R Young said...

I'm definitely not a runner, but it's a great analogy. I write multiple genres as well as read multiple genres. It keeps our writing brains fresh.

Carla said...

Good for you Shannon! and good luck with your new project!

Aw, nutschell, I always tell people they'd like running if they could give it three months!

Lynda, Thanks for the reminder to read multiple's hard to write any genre you don't read!


Gina Conroy said...

Hi Carla, great post! As one who lifts weights, is starting to run AND writes in different genres, I like variety! I fall more in love with the story than the genre. If the story calls for a certain, genre I will write it, though I may not be successful at them all (don't plan on running a marathon, either) I will get better with practice.

Carla said...

Hi Gina, How fun to see someone who does it all! You should be careful when you talk about marathons, though...there was a time when I said I wouldn't run one either!


Kenda said...

I love your analogy that writing in a new genre is like lifting weights. I think what I like about it is that when you're lifting weights, you're getting the blood flowing in different ways--like writing in a new genre gets the creative juices flowing in new ways.

I've been most involved in my MG novel, but have dabbled in picture books, too. Have also had a few short pieces published in inspirational markets. So yes, I "exercise" in different genres, and it's all good fun...

Carla said...

Kenda, That's a great extension--I love picturing the creative juices as the life blood of writing! "Exercise" can be a lot of fun, in so many ways!


Anonymous said...

I tried my hand at mystery and suspense. I wasn't successful at it (yet) but I felt I was stretching my writing muscles. Now I write contemporary, humorous YA, but I'd like to switch genres again in the future.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

I love writing in different genres! It is like exercising! I always learn something new and stretch my mind.

Carla said...

Medeia, I think mystery would be really fun!

Dawn, It's amazing how much there is to learn when we're willing!


Arlee Bird said...

Variety is nice to keep things fresh. And just trying things that you haven't tried or that even maybe not that good at can help make you better at what you do well.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Carla said...

Lee, Variety is always nice! It also makes returning to your comfort zone feel like coming come!


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