I admire Bruce Springsteen, too. Try to put the music he’s written into a box and you’ll find it hard to do. He has songs that are classic rock, songs that are ballads, bluesy songs, gospel-like songs, torch songs, folk songs and songs with a taste of country. He’s versatile, too, and that’s what I like about him. It’s one of the things that make him such a great musician.
Versatility is a wonderful thing for an artist. Without it, you can get stuck in a rut, saying the same thing over and over again. No one wants to be a one trick pony. Better to stretch your wings and reach for something new. Even if it misses the mark, you learn something. You grow.
I like writing new characters with lives and loves different from my own. I like writing funny books. And I also like writing books that drill down into the heart, and books that are set in another time and place. I’ve dabbled with magical realism, that was fun too. I’ve written poems and blog posts. All of this has helped me to grow as a writer. It’s kept writing alive and interesting for me. The hope is that the books written with passion and love will be full of life and love for you, the reader.
But versatility is a double edged sword. It’s not a good thing from a marketing standpoint, because it can’t be easily catalogued. I can’t put ‘Quirky Chick Lit’ on my business cards because while Confessions of the Sausage Queen might fit that description, Blueberry Truth decidedly does not. Being hard to pin down makes the job of marketing much harder. And I’ve thought, long and hard, about writing one kind of thing and sticking to it so I can sell more. Or using pen names for the various kinds of books I sell.
In the end, though, I have to be true to me. And, in truth, I pride myself on versatility. I like emulating people like Streep and Springsteen. I don’t want to write under a pen name, because all of these books belong to me. They are my universes, my creations. And I’m very proud of them.
So, I’ve decided to embrace versatility. I’ve decided it’s okay to write a historical series and a quirky comedy and a bit of literary women’s fiction. I will not fit into a single box, but I will give each project my attention, I will do my very best with each book I write. I will stretch my writing wings and hope there’s some air under them. And I hope that you, dear reader, won’t mind the variety in my body of a work. I think you’ll like it. I have a sneaking suspicion that you like versatility, too.