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Friday, 14 February 2014

Writers, step outside your comfort zone and try another genre

by

Nikolas Baron
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard from a writer was to move away from the familiar, step outside your comfort zone, and try to write within a genre you’ve never tried before. During my time researching writing techniques, I think this is my favorite to get rid of writers' block but also expand a writer’s style horizon.

Writing in a different genre gets the creative juices flowing and makes the writer take a step back to the basics. But in order to write in a different genre, a writer must first learn the mechanics and stylistic choices that are common to that genre. For instance in romance you'd be more 'flowery' in your descriptions, but in thriller writing your sentences will be short to build on that sense of urgency.

This could help to reinstate important grammar and punctuation lessons, and maybe, teach something new. It'll certainly refresh your love for writing by using a new type of creativity. Albert Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.” Writing in the same genre, about the same topics, and still getting nowhere isn’t going to help you further your writing career.

Writers' block aside, writers, particularly beginning writers, in my opinion should always try different genres to avoid pigeon holing themselves. When you’re a young writer, you need experience and what better way to earn your experience than trying to write in every single genre. It’s sort-of along the same lines as tasting foods. How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never had it? How do you know you’re not a romance writer if you’ve never tried to write it? This technique can open your eyes to a brand new set of ideas that can help improve your writing.

Each genre has its own conventions, nuances, and grammar faux pas. This could be the opportunity to take advantage of these unique pieces. There’s something to be said about coming up with a new or mixed genre. Additionally, adding elements from different types of genres could increase your readership since you’re combining two or more genres in one.

Increasing readership is key to the success of your future works. Even many famous writers scribble novels under pen names in other genres. It’s OK to gravitate towards one genre or pick one final genre to put your official name on and then experiment with other genres under a pen name. But it’s typically in a writer’s best interest to experiment early and often when it comes to selecting the style, tone, syntax, and diction of their writing.

If you decide you want to publish your new genre work, a free proofreading tool can be a great resource. Grammarly (www.grammarly.com) offers free proofreading as well as a synonym generator, teaching tools, and excellent customer service.

If you’re feeling tired of writing, try a new genre to remind yourself why you loved creative writing in the first place. New genres can really alter the course of a writer’s style. Why not take a chance and plunge into a new ocean of possibilities?

Nikolas Baron discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children's novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

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