Monday, June 1, 2009

Redefining Yourself

So here is a twist.
You have been writing for some time. Maybe your are published, maybe not. Regardless, you find yourself at a stand still. The writing is going no where. Maybe your editors have passed on your last manuscript. Now what?
No, you don't just give up. It is time to redefine yourself as a writer.
This is really a tough challenge since you may have been in a pathway for a long time. You may have really loved the work you were doing and finding a new direction is just not what you wanted to do, still it is an important pathway to take.
Several years ago, when the "chick lit" movement peaked and really dropped off, many writers had to find a new pathway to take. Continuing what they were doing was just not going to work in the long haul. Sure, some were able to last a bit more, but we still saw a shift. For these writers, finding a new pathway and redefining what they did was surprisingly easy. Many had found a great deal of success with their humor and snark. At this point, they simply had to find a new outlet for the style and to do so, meant blending genres. We saw that snark move into paranormals, into romantic suspense, into historicals.
Another writer I had the chance to work with found that her writing, while it was good, simply wasn't going to fly anymore. In her case, she had been writing historicals for a long period of time. While she had good numbers, there was a period of time that the writing just wasn't moving. In her case, she moved to a new time period. She had dabbled in this new time period a while ago, but just didn't do much with it. So, she dusted off the files she had started once before, and dove into a new project.
For unpublioshed authors, finding that new genre might be the key to success. One author I spoke to had been working hard at trying to write historicals. While her writing was good, it seemed to really lack the voice of that killer story. Her heart was really with fantasy and paranormal. In fact, she had actually published a couple of stories in her early days of writing in these genres. So, we went back to where her heart was and sure enough, she started selling. The fantasy/historicals sold, she expanded her writing and more fantasies went to a new publisher and guess what? That historical, sold to that new publisher, despite the fact that the publisher rejected it the earlier time around.
The key is to stop and examine what you are doing. If your heart really isn't into it. If your writing is continually receiving the same rejections over and over again, maybe it is time to "redefine" yourself. This might be all it takes to get things rolling again.

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