force myself to grow. With every new genre or subgenre I attempt, my abilitiesas a writer are tested and polished. Even if I’m not successful in every genre,even if not every story finds its way into print, I’m not only enjoying the wide-open horizons of unbounded possibility, I’m also strengthening my competencein the craft.In the November/December 2009 issue of
, editor JessicaStrawser points out:Our writing projects can be our favorite well-traveled destinations.We return again and again to that work-in-progress, cozy in to thegroove we’ve worn from what we already know we’re good at, whatwe already know feels comfortable and, if we’re being honest,maybe a little safe—predictable, even. And writing
be thatkind of refuge. Your manuscript, your niche or your genre becomesthat place where you can get just lost enough to satisfy thelonging…. [But] When’s the last time you explored a new direction,took a little detour?... Diversifying the writing you’re doing growsyour platform.Sometimes the thought of mastering even one genre can be daunting enough.But our journey as writers should be about growing, learning, andstrengthening ourselves. Stagnation isn’t fun or profitable, and it isn’t likely toproduce high-quality work. Every once in a while, dare to step outside thebounds of normalcy and see what unexpected adventures you can find off thebeaten path. If you do, who knows—we may be seeing your name alongside thelikes of King, Evanovich, Grisham, and Roberts!