Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's not toxic waste

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. This month, life's been crazier than normal (which is saying a lot!). I knew signing up for NaNoWriMo would tempt my last thin thread of sanity to snap, but no, I'm not going to pressure myself to that point. My goal was to get a good start on a first draft, and if I manage to make it to 50k (I won't), then great. In any case, I'll have the beginnings of a story to delve into and edit.

Lately I've also been reassessing. My interests are so varied, and I let my writing take me in many different directions. Is this a bad thing? It's funny, but after listening to an interview on my favorite radio station, WXPN, with Ryan Adams, I'm beginning to wonder. Ryan's a very talented musician, and has experimented with many different genres of music. When host David Dye delicately suggested maybe he stretched himself over too many, Ryan Adams' argument went something like: "it's not as if it's toxic waste" meaning, I guess, that music doesn't harm anyone, and why would anyone object to him making lots of different types of music? 

My WIPs and story ideas range from literary  to mainstream to romance to indefinable. Should I -- or any writer  -- let someone else tell me I should limit what I write? I don't think so. How do I know that what I'm writing now isn't what I should be writing? Maybe if I return to literary and mainstream stories, that's where I'll finally pen the long-awaited masterpiece.

Or not. But without experimentation, how will I know? Artists need to stretch their creativity, not limit it.
That's my take, anyway. What's yours?


Anne Gallagher said...

I agree whole heartedly. Every writing guru has said to diversify early to find out where your true love lies. I played with YA, literary, and all forms of romance before deciding on the Regency and contemporary women's fiction. I'm happy where I am, but that doesn't mean I won't experiment if the mood strikes.

J. A. Bennett said...

I think as long as you are writing what your heart tells you to, go for it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Write what you want to! Experimenting is the only way you'll find your true passion.

Maria Zannini said...

You and I seem to be cut from the same cloth.

We are in a way Renaissance women, curious about everything the world has to offer.

But we live in a world where society insists on labeling and pigeonholing. I imagine this is why some authors use different names, a way to fit into expectations while still writing to theirs.

Cate Masters said...

How great you found such wonderful mentors, Anne. If only the industry would follow suit. That label's mighty handy for them, unfortunately.

Thanks J.A. and Alex. I do experiment, but my heart is fickle apparently. I really love it all.

I sometimes think I should have been a researcher Maria. I get so caught up in it, more than the story demands. I don't think I could use different names, though. I'd only confuse myself, lol

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great post, Cate. I agree with you. I admire your varied interests and creativity.