On Writing: Stretch Yourself
January 12, 2015 23 Comments
The awesome thing about writing is that it probes us authors to explore in more ways than one. Not only does writing encourage us to seek out and discover uncharted territories in our imaginations and throughout the world, but we are beckoned to explore the vastly wide expanse of the available genres themselves.
I told Sarabeth just last night while doing research for a book I’ve been too afraid to write for years, “I’ve discovered a new love.”
She glared at me for a moment then said, “You shouldn’t say things like that to your wife.” (I didn’t realize that Jennifer Lopez was presenting a Golden Globe on the TV wearing a dress with a V-cut as wide as the Grand Canyon.)
I said, “No, not that. Biography-ing. I know it’s not a ward, but I feel like I’ve found a new niche.”
I thought I’ve already been stretching myself out of my comfort zone of writing mainstream fiction, by working on not just a teen book, but a young readers historical novel. But due to a long-festering force of inspiration, I began a third project recently – a biography about a man you admire but don’t yet know by name (I’ll be dropping hints on my brand new author’s page on Facebook).
Crazy? Sure. But people don’t achieve their dreams by not being crazy. What’s so crazy about flopping down in front of the TV to watch another episode of Family Guy and then sleeping in until 9:00 the next day? That sort of doldrum behavior is to be expected. Do the unexpected.
You’re not going to discover new loves without being crazy enough to get out of your element and explore what the world has to offer.
They say to write what you know, but I disagree with that. I say write enough about what you don’t know, and the research will make you an expert.