The small traps in which I catch myself

It is strange the assumptions I can find lurking in my own brain.

I was watching a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat Pray Love) and I was suddenly struck that here was a woman who has a glowing writing career and she has probably never written a single word that qualifies as Science Fiction or Fantasy. It was as if a door in my brain had opened to whole new possibilities in writing. You see, I know lots of writers, but they are overwhelmingly writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Add to that the fact that whenever the child Sandra pictured writing books, the books she pictured were Fantasy. Somehow these things combined in my head to make only my Science Fiction and Fantasy writing count. This is ludicrous. This is particularly ludicrous because in the wide world of writing and publishing, genre fiction is regarded as a tiny eddy in the great river. And yet I have been telling myself that I did not do any writing last year. Get this, I wrote a blog entry almost every single day, and yet somehow in my head those did not count as writing. The non-genre writing that my friends did counted, but somehow I was discounting my own.

And suddenly a door has opened in my head, and I realize that there are many kinds of writing that I want to do, of which Science Fiction and Fantasy are only a part. They may not even be the larger part. I want to write essays, and blog entries, and articles, and who knows what else. With this new widened perspective I peer back into the past and I remember that even child Sandra was not Fantasy Only. I remember the Children Lost on an Island adventure. I remember the couple of teen lit projects. I remember those final essays of high school which technically met the assignment, but baffled the teacher because he wasn’t sure how to grade them. I am not one thing. I am many things. I’ve always been many things. In fact this is one of the difficulties I constantly face. I want to chase all the shiny possibilities simultaneously.

And so I need to reach out more. I need to start to familiarize myself with publishing outside the eddy of genre fiction. I need to read more books that don’t contain spaceships or magic. Not all at once, because there is value and comfort in the familiar, but enough that I keep expanding my horizons. I suspect that the expansion will improve all of my writing, even the stories with magic and space ships.

And now I have yet another shiny possibility that I want to chase down right now. Instead I have stored it here so that I can find it again once I’m done scrambling to get the Schlock book done.