Not Just a Genre 

Roses from outside the Canterbury Cathedral in England

Lately I’ve noticed a shift in the way I think of myself as a writer.

For a long time, I thought of myself as a writer of many interests. I wrote poetry, prose, short stories, science fiction, non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, and a novel.

Then I found out that this isn’t normal. According to everyone I met – professional writers, editors, authors, freelancers, professors – writers don’t write like that. They pick a genre that they excel at and stick to it. I was told that I probably wasn’t as good at writing in some genres as I was at writing in others, and I needed to invest myself in one genre and become good at it.

I resisted at first. For several years I was defiant. I wrote what I wanted, when I wanted. After all, it was all my art, created for myself.

Then in 2011 I got more serious about my writing. I wanted to be published. I wanted to build a career – albeit slowly and with many distractions. Mostly, I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer, to feel that I was more of a professional and less of a dabbler.

So I pretty much stopped writing anything but fantasy.

I began blogging in August 2013, after moving to Tennessee. It didn’t feel like ‘real’ writing. It was just for fun, and I mostly kept it up because so many people asked me to. (Thanks, guys!)

I pigeonholed myself as a fantasy and science fiction writer, and as much as I enjoy the genre, and needed to focus to get work done on ‘The Empyrean Series’, I have started to feel cramped in this corner of writing.

A few months back I started venturing into other genres. Quietly. I haven’t shown anyone anything. But it felt good to stretch my legs a bit, after sitting still in the ‘YA Fantasy’ camp for so long.

Then, since I started writing so much after my house sit in Tonbridge, I’ve let my creativity run free. I’ve written everything that’s come to me, without thinking about it or judging it. In the last 2 1/2 weeks I’ve written prose, memoir-style personal essays, fantasy, fiction, and even some of a children’s book – in addition to my daily journaling and blog posts. The more I write down my ideas, the more they lead to new developments in the other storylines, and to additional ideas.

I’ve been so inspired, and I really love the new things I’ve been creating. It has returned to me the sense that I can and will write in as many genres as I choose. I am not just a fantasy/sci-fi writer and blogger: I write many things that I can be proud of.

In case you missed it, I’ve been publishing some of my prose as captions to photos on my Instagram account. Find me at @cmcoxwrites.

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