By Megan Burkhart, a professional writing student at Taylor University.
Most writers have their sweet spot–the genre they go to when they sit down to write. Mine is fantasy, as is the case with most of my friends. It’s what we read, and therefore, what we enjoy writing.
However, it’s easy to get stuck when your head is in one world for a long period of time. This is when you tend to lose the forest for the trees and vice versa. How do you get unstuck and expand your writing horizons? You do it with a little spice I like to call genre hopping.
1. It rewires your thinking process.
Switching genres can mean the difference between night and day. Horror has a radically different outcome than a sweet romance. Children’s books have an entirely different tone than YA sci-fi/fantasy.
Each genre requires a unique approach and perspective. Changing it up makes your brain find new ways to imagine characters, scenes, and settings. This will ultimately loosen your writing and help it flow better when you get back to your original story and genre.
2. It can help you find new passions.
When I felt stuck in my YA fantasy novel, I took a break and wrote a children’s picture book. It was a dramatic change for me, and it was quite difficult at first. However, by the end of one month, I had a manuscript I was satisfied with and ideas budding for more children’s books.
In that “break” from my novel, I found I love writing children’s books too. I never would have known about this secret passion unless I had put my other project on hold. Not every exercise in changing genres will reveal a newfound love, but it might show you that you’re not just a one-trick pony.
3. It’s FUN.
Even if your attempt at romance, fantasy, mystery, or horror is a complete flop, it can still be fun. Writing is about discovery, similar to receiving a treasure map. There’s a destination marked by an X, but you don’t know exactly what you’ll find until you get there. And often, the journey is just as surprising as the final destination. You might scream, laugh, or cry along the way, but that is better than being apathetic and stuck, right? Let loose and watch the creativity flow.
Now, go forth and spice things up!