Diversification

It is vitally important as writers to be diversified. I do not necessarily mean writing in several genres or different voices. But it is painfully obvious that maintaining a kind of singularity will stunt one’s creative growth. I suppose if you have become wildly successful and are off-loading the majority of your work to ghost writers, you can do as you please, assuming you no longer care about your muse.

I prefer to write first-person crime fiction. There is a certain comfort zone that has developed over many years. However, knowing that I wish to explore all the possibilities that writing can offer, I am currently working on a piece of contemporary fiction as well as an off-the-wall metafiction. I won’t stray too far, just enough to find out what else is out there and how it can aid me.

It is also necessary to diversify with regard to your associations, the other writers that are both within and outside of your geographic circle as well as your scope of influence. At the beginning of May, I will be attending the OWFI Conference for the third year in a row. I felt like such a newbie the first year; now I actually KNOW some people. And they are not all from the same genre or level of experience or success. This is what makes it beneficial.

This past weekend, I attend the Northwest High School Spring Fling, a fundraiser for their Performing Arts Booster Club. Think of it: Helping high school kids with the performing arts. Not exactly the kind of venue for a writer of crime fiction. Or was it?

I had the good fortune to spend the afternoon with three other writers, talking about writing, attempting to sell our works. We come from different backgrounds and work in different genres and yet the one thing that remains consistent is that we are all storytellers. That IS the essence of who we are as writers.

Bonnie Tharp’s book, Feisty Family Values, will give any reality show a run for its money in both humor and pathos but has more honesty than any creation on television.

In Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, Grant Overstake has captured a magical and mystical tiger by the tail in this story of a Kansas farm girl overcoming tragedy through pole-vaulting.

If you can imagine a young boy saving a civilization of humanoids living on a dirty gym sock under his bed, then you’ll certainly be floored by Louise Galveston’s By the Grace of Todd.

It was these three that I shared an afternoon with as I set up a display of Swan Song, a neo-noir hard-boiled story that takes place in the very community where I was helping raise funds for a high school performing arts booster club.

No one said it had to make sense.

But there we were, the four of us, eating chips and chicken salad sandwiches and talking about what it was like to be a writer; the issues with finding agents, editors, and publishers; the marketing and networking; and, oh yeah, real life, like working and paying the bills and our family and friends and other relationships.

It wasn’t a spectacular sales day for any of us. But it was a day to be around different people, not safely stowed away in the comfort of our homes and offices and around the people who know us and love us and understand the difficulty of what we day. We were out among the readers and each of us was looking for that one special person to connect with and say “Hey, maybe something I wrote will connect with you.”

There’s only one way to do that: Get out there and diversify.

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2 Comments

  1. Louise said,

    March 12, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I agree with this completely! It was wonderful to talk shop with each other because of our different writing perspectives. I learned a lot, and better still, made new friends. And my daughter is pestering me for that chicken salad recipe! 🙂

    Like

    • H.B. Berlow said,

      March 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      When we step outside of our circles, we usually find a wider circle. That will always be a joy for me. And, yes, those recipes are on their way.

      Like


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