Going with your instincts…

Yesterday my wife and I were talking about a story I’d written.

She thought it needed something else.

I told her, my gut instinct had been to take the story darker but was unnerved to do it.

This led me to think about other stories where I’d taken the safe route.

I thought about everything I’d written.

There were parts of numerous stories and some novels where I’d played it safe.

I chose not to do something in the story I wanted to do because there’s always a fear of doing something horrific.

Those moments came more often than I thought.

I don’t usually think about this but my wife insisted I go back and rewrite it darker.

As a writer, especially one who writes horror and fantasy, there’s a fear of judgment.

I worry that what I write may lead people to believe there is something wrong with me.

This has plagued me since I began writing in my teens.

As a teenager, it felt different because I worried how my parents would interpret what I wrote. I thought they’d want to sit me down with a therapist, hint, they did.

When I began to write again in my twenties, I felt what I wrote would worry my wife. I edited myself because of it.

After our discussion this week, I discovered I’m still afraid of what people think.

This makes it hard for me to move forward with improving as well as writing the stuff in my head.

There’s a quote, I’m not sure who it belongs to but I think its Stephen King, “Good writing is often about letting go of fear.”

I need to let go of the fear of judgment, move forward and write something that scares me for other people to see.

If I don’t, why am I writing at all?

The Delusion of Genre Classification

Delusions of...

I like the idea of trying to write a book in every genre.

China MIÉVille

Our idea of what our writing should be is covered up by labels.

These labels aren’t what we want, but a way for publishers to place our work in the market.

Each of us write different genres, but these genres shouldn’t limit who we are as writers.

Are we a Fantasy writer with their epic worlds and magical places?

Or possibly, a YA writer, creating worlds for teenagers to escape from reality and possibly discover someone in fiction who’s going through the same struggles they’re going through?

Then again, maybe your a Science Fiction writer, creating marvelous technology and doing amazing things in the future or some place among the stars.

Being any of these is great, but being the writer you want to be is more important than being classified as one genre or another.

Many writers write in different genres. Neil Gaiman has written children’s books, adult books, YA and comics. Stephen King may be the king of horror, but his Dark Tower series is fantasy.

Never let anyone tell you what you should write.

Even if you’re published, you can always write genres other than what you’re known for, even if you have to keep them to yourself for a while.

Writing is about discovery. Find the right story for you, whatever it is.

The genre isn’t as important as good writing.

Don’t define your writing by a genre classification, let others do that. Just write!

What’s your favorite genre to write? Answer in the comments.