When it comes to writing, I’m easily bored if I work on the same type of project for too long. Maybe it’s the curse of being a millennial, or maybe it’s just because I was born with the attention span of a chipmunk. Whatever the reason, I find it’s best for me to juggle multiple writing projects at once, and they’re often in various genres.
I’ve written novels that are Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Romance, and Contemporary. When I first started working with a variety of genres, I questioned whether it was an okay thing for a writer to do, since most published authors seem to stick to one genre. But now I realize that writing in multiple genres has lots of benefits:
- It helps you build more well-rounded stories.
If you read blog posts about crafting Fantasy novels, you’ll often find the focus is on world-building. If you read advice about Contemporary Romance, usually the focus is on character arcs. Every genre has certain aspects of writing craft that authors are encouraged to focus on, so when you write in multiple genres, you’re regularly encouraged to focus on multiple aspects.
When I write a Contemporary Romance, my setting might not actually influence the plot, but knowing how to describe the landscape breathes extra life into the story. And when I write a Fantasy, I know readers will enjoy it more if I take the time to give my characters complex arcs. I find all the little bits of writing craft I’ve learned end up helping in each book I write, even if it’s in ways I don’t always expect.
- It keeps you from getting bored with writing. I find that writing in multiple genres keeps me from growing bored and miserable with my stories. If I had to write Contemporary Romance for the rest of the life, I’d quickly grow to resent it. But when I have a Sci-Fi project to work on alongside my Contemporary Romance WIP, it keeps me from becoming restless and resentful toward the project. And I know that when I enjoy writing, my readers are far more likely to enjoy reading my work.
- It gives you freedom to experiment and play with your writing. When I’m working with such a huge variety of stories, I know I’m bound to eventually write something that I’ll love and readers will hate. And that inevitability actually makes me more comfortable taking risks. It keeps me from worrying so much about how readers will react to a single project, and it encourages me to experiment. If I want to write a Contemporary with four POVs? Sure, why not. Or a Fantasy book within a Contemporary book with non-chronological timelines? What the hell, I might as well try. These strange projects might turn out as miserable failures. But I have two other projects in the works that I know are marketable, so I’m willing to take those sort of risks.
- It allows you to build contacts in multiple parts of the publishing industry. My critique partners and writer friends are scattered all across the publishing industry. Some are indie, some are traditional; some write YA, and some write adult; some write Fantasy, some write Romance, some write Historical. If I’d never branched out from the first genre I started in, Urban Fantasy, I’d likely not know most of these people. And that’d truly be a shame, because my mixed group of writer friends bring much-needed diversity of opinion to the table, both in regards to personal and industry experiences.
Overall, I find writing in multiple genres to be a hugely rewarding experience. Do you write in multiple genres? If so, have you had positive experiences with it, and do you think you’ll continue to do so in the future?
Olivia Rivers is a Young Adult author who writes in multiple genres, ranging from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Romance. Her fascination with technology led her to become a hybrid author, meaning some of her works are independently published, while others are traditionally published. She has a passion for representing diversity, and you’ll often find disabled main characters in her novels. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary.