Stretching Your Limits as a Writer

I've been musing about what it means to stretch your limits as a writer.

One, because my new super sekrit project is unlike anything I've ever written before and is making me neurotic.

Another is because I was recently posed with the question about how a particular project (not the super sekrit one, but a new one) I'd like to explore would "push the boundaries of my art."

Pushing boundaries.

When I hear those words I immediately think of young adult books, or gray areas, of writing a story that's gritty, racy, and out of the box.

Actually, that could be quite fun.

But pushing your own personal limits as a writer doesn't actually mean having to "go there" -- especially if "going there" *is* your comfort zone.

Considering I don't precisely write squeaky clean teen as it is, one could say my Middle Grade Elfpunk project stretches my limits as a writer. After all, middle grade is a whole different bag of pixies than YA, and I've never written Elfpunk before.

Writing contemporary would be pushing my limits--especially since I think I'm physically incapable of writing something non-paranormal.

Writing an Amish Romance would definitely be outside my comfort zone and stretch my boundaries as a writer--that's probably about as far away from what I write as you can get.

I don't think I'll be writing Amish Romance or contemporary anytime soon, though. I have enough on my plate as it is.

Still, pushing boundaries as a writer means going outside of *your* box, trying something new to you. It may not work out. I've had plenty of stories that just don't work for me.

But sometimes I surprise myself.

Innocent Darkness, my upcoming YA wasn't originally Steampunk. No, I took a risk and Steampunked it on the fly.

It could have epicly failed.

But it didn't.

The super sekrit project could epicly fail. I'm only 100 pages in and still unsure of myself.

The MG Elfpunk, well, the verdict is still out on that one. It is still being beta read and hasn't gone to my agent yet. (But, in case anyone cares, Stealing Seattle, my adult Urban Fantasy has, we'll see what she thinks. Fingers crossed. Though that was squarely in the Comfort Zone)

If any of these projects fall flat, that's okay. Failing makes me a better writer, too. It's all part of the process.

I still am not sure how this new project would push my limits as a writer. Just because it's fun and interesting, doesn't make it a true challenge. It's paranormal, like everything else. It's set in a place I'm unfamiliar with using folklore I'll have to majorly research. But then again, many of my projects do.

Just one more thing to ponder on my morning commute.

What sort of project would "push the boundaries" of your art?


Julia Barrett said...

I push it all the time. Getting kind of used to it. If I fail, I fail. I'll never know unless I try. I also have a super sekrit project that is very scary...but pushing ahead, at least for the time being. Good luck!

Firetulip said...

Think outside the box. Push the boundaries. Strech the limits. All cliches and make me feel as if our minds are balconies with railings. What does any of these really mean? My limits are different from the person standing next to me. At least I'd hope they are. Yet, when you take a look what's out there (and one doesn't have to look hard to see) it doesn't take a genious to conclude everything is made the same way. As if there's some cookie cutter that fits all and we have to follow that format and that format only to make the cut. Is the world truly ready for something so out of the box? I'm not so sure. If your art doesn't follow that structured script, that cut out. It's like same dress hanging in the windwo shop from one store to the next. Nothing to choose from .

Lisa Kessler said...

For me to write a contemporary would definitely be a HUGE stretch for me... Yow!

But I'm very curious about the super sekrit project! :) Any hints?

Have fun Suzanne!

Lisa :)

Suzanne Lazear said...

@Julia-- that's a great attitude. Good luck!

@Firetulip -- that's why I think the idea of pushing bounderies is different for everyone.

@Lisa -- it involves orange juice, magic, and large explosions. :)