Don’t Try to Do It All

Wednesday, March 13, 2024


Are you trying to do it all?

Not long ago, Ann Kathryn Kelly shared an article with the rest of our accountability group. We oohed and aahed and that isn’t surprising. “Lived In and Loved: Unique Design Concepts Driven by Art and Psychology” in the March 2024 issue of Portsmouth City Lifestyle has it all. In addition to Ann’s byline and powerful prose, it is full of gorgeous photos. I just want to crawl inside and explore! 

But I’m not going there. Obviously, I can’t literally crawl inside the photos but I’m not going to try to follow Ann’s steps and write a piece for a posh city lifestyles magazine either. As much as I love going to open houses and drooling over photos like these, for the most part I cannot write about home décor. Words escape me. 

It may be that I simply don’t know enough. Perhaps if I studied decorating, I could write these kinds of pieces. But that’s okay. Ann, I’m gifting them to you. You do this type of writing so well! I just don’t have the fire to do justice to these types of projects. 

And that’s one clue whether a writing project is something you should pursue. If you are passionate about it, go for it! 

I recently puzzled through how the Apollo lunar lander, command module and rocket worked together. I really needed to know how the lunar lander survived the journey, perched as it is below the nozzle exit cone for the command module. Yeah, I care enough to make sure that it is actually called a nozzle exit cone. 

But decorating terminology? I know the correct terms for paint finishes and that’s about it. It is simply not one of my passions. 

The reality of writing is that there are dozens if not hundreds of different things that you can write. Are you interested in fiction? Do you want to write for adults or young readers? Romance? Romantasy? Cozy mysteries? Or perhaps you’re into speculative fiction? Or maybe you prefer to write nonfiction. Again, you could write for adults and/or young readers. There are how-to pieces as well as science, gardening, lifestyle, and a whole lot more. 

Every type of writing that you do is going to have a learning curve. You will have to learn the appropriate jargon and the expectations that go along with that type of writing. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with your audience and the market. That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? 

A lot of effort goes into writing well. And none of us has the energy or the will to do it all. 

If you want to try something new, sign up for a WOW class. Tomorrow is Renee Roberson’s video course, Introduction to True Crime Writing. I’ve signed up although I’m going to have to catch the replay. My thought is that I may be able to use this to improve my mysteries. Who knows? I may discover a new passion. 

Check out WOW’s list of courses and workshops. There’s sure to be something, perhaps travel writing, Chicken soup essays, or my own nonfiction, that piques your interest. But don’t be surprised when you look at some of the courses and think, “Nah, that’s just not for me.” 

None of us has to do it all. 


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of 50 books for young readers.  
  • To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.  
  • Click here to find her newsletter.

She is also the instructor for 3 WOW classes which begin again on  March 4, 2024. 
She teaches:


Yvonne Osborne said...

But there's so much to do and so little time!!!
Thanks for the newsy post.

Jodi Webb said...

Great viewpoint! I've always hated the old chestnut: Write what you know. How boring would that be? But write what you're passionate about, write what you want to learn more about - like lunar landings! - that I can get behind.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

So little time! And keep in mind, I'm not a tightly focused writer. I've written for magazines and preschool activity guides and library books for teen nonfiction publishers. But there are trends in my work and things I've tried and discarded.

Write what you know works to a point. Fortunately I love to learn new things.


Renee Roberson said...

I get this. I sometimes feel like writing offers us a whole buffet of things we can try out and I want to do so many of them! Tackling the time travel aspect in fiction is intriguing me currently, but I'm nervous about trying to pull it off. Hope you enjoy the true crime writing webinar!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Yes! I read posts here and think, "I could do that. That sounds fun!" But I just don't have time for everything I want to do let alone everything I could do.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I think everything sounds fun! But we need to prioritize because there are only so many hours. I watched Renee’s True Crime webinar replay, and it was amazing. It made me want to pull up an old essay that I started about stumbling upon a nuclear meltdown site/coverup while hiking and getting chased out of it. I love the combo of memoir and journalistic true crime combined. But do I have time for it? I'm taking a novel writing class and need to concentrate on that. I’m so easily sidetracked. Loved Ann’s article too, and also how you’re researching the lunar lander!

And Renee, tackling time travel sounds intriguing. Melanie Faith teaches a WOW class periodically called "Leaping worlds" on time travel, and while she's not teaching it this year, one of the books she uses in the class is The Time Traveler's Guide: Writing Time Travel Stories and Historical Fiction by Simon Rose. It could be helpful. :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

That looks like a wonderful class! I really enjoyed the graphic novel course I took with Melanie.

You, like me, have way too many ideas! I suspect a lot of us have this problem. Of course, you also have the wildest adventures which means you have even more to write about.

Ann Kathryn Kelly said...

SueBE! Awww, thanks for the love! I'm just seeing your blog post now. I gotta figure out how I can get notifications for Muffin blogs. I thought I had signed up, but for some reason, I don't get them -- which means I need to set a reminder in my phone to come out to this site and get caught up! I love writing lifestyle articles for this magazine -- definitely a new and fun thing for me! I agree with you that there are dozen of niches we can target with our writing. The trick is to find your passion and go for it! Ahem, like you're already doing with your cozy mysteries -- a genre I know very little about and would not excel in, either. LOL!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

It is funny how completely we love or loathe certain types of writing! Like they say, "You do you." And keep us posted when something new is published!

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