Last week I read a blog post from Frances Garrood (http://francesgarrood.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/farewell-womags_15.html) about her decision to stop writing short stories. It was a short, interesting piece about how she’d arrived at this decision. And it struck me that, when it comes to the business of writing, sometimes you need to accept that it’s time to move on.
There are many reasons why a writer stops writing in a particular genre or for a specific market. Frances wrote about how she used to write lots of short stories for the women’s magazines, but now finds her time is spent focussing on her novels. As a result, she said she now finds writing short stories harder, because she’s more used to writing novels. She’s evolved as a writer.
There’s something we can all learn here. We shouldn’t continue doing something simply because we’ve always done it. We’re all learning and evolving as writers. Our business is simply one long journey along the road of discovery as we learn who we are as writers.
As we draw closer to the year end, many of you may look back at what you’ve achieved this year. As part of that review process why not look at those areas of your writing you’ve worked on for a long time. Do they still fill you with a sense of excitement as you start each project? If they do – brilliant! Keep going. But if they don’t, then perhaps its time to move on. If you’ve always written about steam engines, but have fancied writing ballet reviews then make plans. Investigate what steps you need to take to go forward in this direction. If you’ve always written non-fiction but want to write fiction then why not start looking for such opportunities?
Sometimes we need to change our labels. Is there a label you’ve always fancied? Travel writer? Womag writer? Novelist? Scriptwriter? Perhaps its time to work at achieving one of those and to drop one of your other labels. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you. Don’t continue doing something simply because that’s what everyone else sees you as, or labels you as.
Making the change may be scary, but sometimes scary just feels right. And just because you might be moving on, there’s no law that says you can’t move back. Sometimes, moving back, having explored new horizons, gives the old horizon a whole new perspective.