Try Something New
|What to write based on my latest research?|
How often do you try something new with your writing? I don’t mean a new characterization exercise or a new plotting technique. How often do you write something that is unlike what you’ve written before?
It was easy when I was beginner. After all, I hadn’t written anything other than term papers. Then I took a class and tried my hand at picture books, taking them to a local critique group. When an editor asked for authors to write nonfiction for her horse magazine, I said yes. At that point, I wasn’t a fiction author or a nonfiction author. All I knew was that I wanted to write for kids, and tweens were this magazine’s audience.
Soon, I found myself drawing on my background in history to write breed profiles, which are histories of specific horse breeds. Once I built up my equestrian knowledge, I wrote how-tos and science based articles for this magazine as well.
But my comfort zone was still history so I pitched a piece of historical nonfiction about Gertrude Ederle to READ. The editor liked the idea, but could only use it if I could do it as readers theater. No problem! Well, maybe only one. I’d never written readers theater. Soon I was reading both on swimming the Channel and writing plays to be read aloud in a classroom setting. It was well worth the time when the piece sold.
By trying something new, I’ve earned dozens of writing credits composing how-tos for my fellow writers, nonfiction for use as testing passages, craft and recipe how-tos for children, prayers for women and even book reviews.
Not that it always works out. Video scripts? Not my thing. Early elementary material? My own style falls naturally into about the 7th grade reading level so writing for kindergartners and first graders is a battle. Poetry? I have fun with it, but write it only as a warm up exercise, never for sale.
Why not try something new with your own writing? If you’re a fiction writer, try writing a piece of nonfiction. It could be a how-to, a recipe or an essay. If you write for women’s magazines, do you have something you could write up for a boys magazine? If you normally write for young children, why not try writing about them? Maybe you have an idea that would be perfect for a parenting magazine.
Come on. Stretch. Try something new. You may find a talent you didn’t know you had.
Author Sue Bradford Edwards blogs at One Writer's Journey.