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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Hello Untapped Genres – Goodbye Writing Resistance!

To sonnet or not to sonnet? Iambic or Trochaic? Oh, screw it, I'll just write a novel!

To sonnet or not to sonnet? Iambic or Trochaic? Oh, screw it, I’ll just write a letter to the Queen!

Are you a poet who thinks fiction is a waste of words or who can’t fathom writing that many pages?

Are you a fiction writer who fears memoir will insult or embarrass your family and friends? An essayist who thinks novelists are incapable of getting to the point?

The genres you avoid because you are intimidated by their creative demands or you just don’t see the point have something significant to teach you. Of course you can’t specialize in every known genre, but you can benefit tremendously from exploring other forms. Think of it as creative cross training.

Working in a new genre might give you a new way to think about and use language.

You might find that creative constraints of a different genre set your imagination free. Or that after reining yourself in to practice the discipline of the “other” genre, you can’t wait to let loose in your usual genre. Your passion for your typical form might be reignited by having an “affair” with another genre.

Best of all, you can get a free introduction to new-to-you genres at the Loft Literary Center’s First Pages Conference on June 8. This free conference will fill fast, so register soon.

If you can’t attend the First Pages Conference or if you discover you want to learn more about the conventions and principles of “alien” genres, the Loft offers a smorgasbord of classes in a wide variety of genres and topics, in-person or online, from single-session to multi-week classes.

Many Loft classes like my Entering the Flow and Discover Your Way Around the Writer’s Block, which start in June, offer a full scholarship to one student. The Loft strives to keep classes affordable.

So if your first thought was that you can’t afford to go genre-hopping, you can assume that’s your resistance talking. Which is all the more reason to explore.

I’m curious: what genres have you not tapped yet and why?

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One Comment on “Hello Untapped Genres – Goodbye Writing Resistance!”

  1. Joel D Canfield June 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    I once publicly ranked writing difficulty thus, from easiest to hardest:


    Since I’ve done them all, I thought it was fair.

    Agree completely that moving around gives you a different perspective. I’ve also moved within my fiction, though not as much. Multiple mysteries in progress, a romantic comedy, a coming of age novel, and 30 children’s stories. (My music ranges from straight rock and country to classical, Arabic trance, electronica, and blends of them all.)

    But I’m always looking for another wild place to explode into.


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