Today someone asked what I did this weekend, and I answered “writing.” They asked what kinds of writing I did, what genres I explored. For the rest of the day I’ve been thinking about what exactly I do write, and whether I want to be known for a particular style, setting, or category of work.
My ongoing Lavis Chronicles story arc is posting regularly, and at this rate I still have what I feel is a few months’ worth of content ahead of me. I’ve already started writing a post-apocalyptic episodic work, and have its total run mapped out. My political/military modern-day Covert Ops stories have more ground to cover, and will run concurrently with the Lavis posts for the time being. I haven’t been writing many one-off stories of late, which I lament, but I suppose it’s harder for me to find specific inspiration that doesn’t cleanly fit into one of my existing projects.
I already have thoughts for what will come next (with the hope of largely keeping two ongoing story arcs posting at once), but both of my current ideas overlap a great deal with many of the themes or settings I am already exploring, and that gives me pause. How long should I wait before returning to a particular environment or set-piece? How long before I approach similar themes from a different angle?
Right now I think it comes down to how I feel about being stereotyped. Not that I have any sort of fame or reputation for writing a particular type of fiction at this very moment, but the thought of branching out and trying new things is great, “while I still have time.” Realistically I’m not going to be a famous writer, let alone known for working in a particular genre, but I already worry about coming off to potential readers as “that guy who writes [genre] stories” or “that guy who explores [theme] every time.”
Yes, I’m fretting about problems I don’t have yet, as is so often my go-to state. There are people in my life who are envious that I”m putting words to page at all, and I genuinely am thankful that I have found both the inspiration and opportunity to write what I have, to explore the settings and themes that they provide. Maybe the worry is that my work won’t be different enough and I’ll keep writing the same basic stories over and over again, just with a new coat of paint each time.
Recently I looked and over the past four months I’ve posted over 60,000 words in this blog, not including the 40 or so scheduled articles that are yet to publish. For some that’s a lifetime of writing, for others it’s their goal for one single month. Depending on the final book size, that’s between 125 and 150 published pages, or about 240 college essay pages. Is that a lot? It’s certainly more than I’ve written in a long time, but it’s not much for someone who wants to commit to writing.
In my liberal arts classes in college I wrote an average of 24 pages of reports a month, with a large (75-page) final essay due at the end of the term. So in one semester that works out to what, 150 pages or so? I admit I’m kind of impressed that in the same amount of time I’ve been able to almost double the output of my college days, and all while doing it just as a side hobby.
Putting things in that perspective actually improved my mood. I hadn’t really compared my modern output to my own history before, and it’s given me a lot to think about.
As always, thank you so much for reading, however often or much suits your fancy.