It's funny that Sue recently blogged about picking and choosing your pathway with writing. I ran into that very realization lately. It all started with a flash fiction contest I entered a couple of years ago. Part of the appeal of the contest was that you write the 500-word story in 48 hours, and submit what you have by the deadline. This resulted in little revising and rewriting on my part due to the time constraints. And I loved the little story I wrote and thought it was so charming.
Over time, I've attempted to rewrite that story. Through that process, I've come across various flash fiction contests and wondered to myself if my story was worthy. I've even submitted it a few times, and yet, as I look at it now, I feel like it doesn't represent the type of writing I want to put my time into. I have written flash fiction since then and each story tells me there's something more of a story inside yearning to be fleshed out.
Yet, it's not like I haven't been successful with this style of writing. Not too long ago, I got a 1,000ish word story published with Sky Island Journal. But, as I see contests come and go encouraging flash fiction submissions, I'm beginning to realize I'm not much of a flash fiction writer, and I really don't yearn to be. If it happens, and I write one, great! But I've accepted that it's not necessarily a craft I want to spend time perfecting.
I've also discovered this truth in other areas of writing. For example, with freelance writing, I enjoy SEO writing, writing on behalf of businesses, and blogging. But ask me to pitch an article to an editor? I draw a blank. Ideas don't come. Weirdly enough, I could write articles for a business blog or newsletter and not run into that brick wall at all.
So, I've come to accept and learn more about the type of writer I am. It's not that these aren't areas I couldn't grow in, but I often ask myself if I really want to take the time to expand in these areas. Doing so may result in me pulling away from my own writing time, and become an excuse for me not to work on the stories I do have in my pending file.
Like Sue says in her article, it's not like you shouldn't try new things. I love the idea of stepping outside of your comfort zone but don't let that become a roadblock for you. Sometimes comfort zones are comfortable for a reason.