For two years now, I’ve been a blogger and freelance writer, but before that, I was in graduate school, writing research papers on poems, films, and novels. Before that, I was an undergraduate studying creative writing and dipping my toes in memoir and poetry. And since the age of four, I’ve been a diarist, filling notebook after notebook with personal musings and the most random of things.
Because my blogging work has me writing every day and averaging about 4,000 words a week, I definitely feel like I’m writing—constantly—and still A Writer. At the same time, however, I feel a lack of writing styles in my life.
I pretty much stick to one genre, which is an outwardly-focused blog post, usually filled with tips or digestible lessons learned from life experience. I adopt the voice of a comrade who’s eager to share some of her wisdom and encourage the reader along the way. It’s friendly. It’s warm. It’s relatable. And it’s a huge part of my authentic identity. I’ve always found joy in helping others—in particular, it’s a personal mission of mine to make those around me feel at ease and included. I know I’m pretty limited in my ability to fix problems, but I’m optimistic about helping people feel O.K., and that keeps me going.
I also love the subject matter of the things I blog about. Makeup! Skincare! Style trends! Yoga! Green smoothies! I can (and have) read about each of those subjects extensively. Coming from an academic background, however, I wondered, at times, if these things were frivolous—but I never really believed they were. As a graduate student, I would paint my toenails with as much care as I annotated my primary sources. I devoured Vogue with the same hunger that I consumed Emily Dickinson. To me, it’s all beauty. Reading thoughtful literature and using my mind until it hurt was—and is—as necessary as witnessing painfully beautiful things and moments with my eyes. When coexisting, sensory and intellectual beauty make my heart full. Life, without a full heart, is barely life.
This is why I need to carve out space in my writing life—that is, my life life!—to write in different genres once again. At present, I don’t have any professional goals attached to this desire. I just know that I have to honor my writing ability (which I owe to genes and good schooling) by using it in every way I know how. Not to mention, several other personas and voices coexist within my personality as a whole (if one can have a “whole” personality). I need to let them speak, too.
To be honest, I don’t know where I’ll start or which genre I’ll turn to next. Just setting the intention to be a multi-genre writer, however—and sharing it publicly!—makes it feel possible.