Brain Break (final)

Write if you must

Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored ways to disconnect from that part of our primary identity of writer in order to allow our minds to rest and recharge, which in turn feeds our creativity as writers. But some of you are stubborn and writing is so ingrained you cannot disconnect. Your day job is perpetual research, your family is fodder for plot and character, and your every waking moment is spent in writing, researching the craft of writing, or seeking publication for that which is already written. You could no more disconnect from your writing than you could turn yourself inside out.

Fine. I offer you this:

Write if you must – but do it outside your genre.

While I myself consider myself something of a coyote, an opportunist as a writer, hesitating to settle on one genre or even two and writing poetry, short stories, blogs, and fiction whenever and wherever I am so inclined, I usually encourage writers to, and experience that, most writers are focusing their craft in one type of writing and genre. Thus, if you are a romantic poet or a horror novelist and your craft has become wearisome, consider doing a guest blog on a topic you love, or some satirical flash fiction. If you pen gritty espionage – try penning a lullaby. If science fantasy is your vehicle – consider compiling some family vignettes.

If you do this, a couple of things will surely happen:

Your standard genre and type of writing will benefit. Stepping out of your comfort zone to experience something different will invigorate your own writing and give you creative fuel to power through stilted storylines and brain-weary writing.

You may fall in love, or you will at least gain an appreciation for other writing styles, authors, and genres. Changing up your focus for a moment can open up a world of writers, and writing to you, and it may also expose you to more readers in turn.

As with anything else that we do, the more rounded we are, the better our results. While sticking within one or two genres and styles won’t damage your writing ability, taking a break from your chapbook of poetic odes to toads to pound out a scathing opp ed about whether toilet paper should be on the roll over or under (Over. Always over. And if you leave only a single sheet, you’re a monster) gives your poetic amphibious aria machine a well-needed break (because seriously? Frog poems?) and you may find your platform is not lily pads but Charmin. Just don’t go to work tomorrow with TP on your heel. You’ll get teased, and my senior editor doesn’t condone any blog advice that puts our readers in a situation where they will be belittled.


TL Boehm
Associate Editor