Monday, January 3, 2011

Who Am I?

So I've started this morning's blog about 3 times already. And erased all of them.  I realize that my indecision and difficulty in deciding on something to focus on is a theme in my life. I can't believe how hard I struggle to find just one thing to focus on. Lots of writers do it...why can't I?

Part of my "blah" feeling today is that I was unexpectedly ill with a food borne illness yesterday. I'm up and functioning, but just barely. There are many projects I should or could be doing, but I'm still recovering my will to live, so laundry doesn't seem all that important. 

But sitting at the computer seems low energy enough, so here I am, sharing with the unprepared public all my internal ruminations. My struggle comes from enjoying multiple types of genres. I read lots of different types of books, and I'll go on binges, reading only on genre for a while, then thinking "I have an idea for a story in this genre, I should write it!"

But then another genre's book will catch my eye, and I'll repeat the process all over again. And again. And again. I guess a part of me is afraid of being pigeonholed, forced by outside circumstances to maintain a certain character or persona, like an actor afraid of being typecast.

This was emphasized again to me last night as I lay in bed, miserable. I was watching TV, flipping channels, and came across something on PBS Masterpiece Classic. "My Boy Jack" is the story of Rudyard Kipling and his son during WWI. Mr. Kipling was big in the support of the war, using his tremendous speaking ability and passion to encourage young men to enlist to fight against Germanic aggression, as well as being part of the military intelligence community. His son, Jack, was also of enlisting age, but his eyesight was so poor he couldn't see very far without his glasses, and his attempt to enlist in various branches of the military were all met with rejections because of it. He eventually is able to enlist somewhere as his father pulls some strings, but then goes missing in action, causing all kinds of repercussions at home.

The actors were all excellent. But what was so interesting was that Jack was played by Daniel Radcliffe. My oldest daughter is a Harry Potter fanatic, and as she came into the room and saw what I was watching, she had to stop and watch a bit, too, because it was "Harry Potter".

We watched in silence for a while, and then she turned to me and said, "I can tell he's a good actor, but I have a hard time seeing him as anybody but Harry. I keep expecting him to pull out a wand, or have Ron Weasley show up. I don't think I like this."

As writers yourselves, what makes you so sure that what you're writing is what you're supposed to be writing? Why do you feel like you have to write what you write? Why do you choose the genres you do?


  1. I think it's because I love what I write that I know I'm supposed to be writing it. If "supposed to" is even the right term. The thought of being pigeonholed has been a struggle for me too at times, but now I just write what I want and don't worry about the rest.

  2. I don't choose genres. That would be madness. I keep bouncing around between projects, writing a little here and then a little there until something pulls me in and won't let go. Then I move on to something else. Don't think so hard, don't worry about it. You can always have pen names for different genres, lots of writer's do it. Meggin/ Meg Cabot
    Ally?Allyson Condie...

    See? Write in as many genres as you want, just enjoy the process.

  3. I have the same problem you do. I like books. All kinds of books, all kinds of genres. When I suddenly began writing a non-fiction book, it felt really weird and foreign to me. I tried to fight it, I want to write fiction, after all, that's what I have researched, it's what I read, it's what I like. But the ideas wouldn't leave me, so here I am writing a non-fiction, but not giving up on my fiction writing either. I think everyone else is right. We worry our pretty little heads too much about these things. We need to write what our hearts are telling us to write and worry about the semantics later.



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