Sunday, June 19, 2005

Reinventing yourself

There's a lot to be said for having the flexibility to pull of a reinvention.
People who are constantly changing are doing one of two things. They are either changing because they're dissatisfied with themselves, or they are changing because they are growing. Only one of these is healthy.

People undergo changes on a daily basis. We dodge. We weave. We make do with who we are and what we do. This is imperative. If we don't adapt, we risk being left behind.
But there are some things we simply don't need to change. I've touched on this before in my "Square Peg, Round Hole" post

I often wonder about authors who reinvent themselves. I love James Patterson. His "Alex Cross" novels are wonderful. I haven't heard anything good about his foray into romance. But I give him big points for exploring another avenue. BIG POINTS. He's taking a new path and stepping in a new direction. He's growing.
Catherine Coulter pulled it off big time when she went from romance to thriller. I absolutely love both these genres from her. Once again, very canny.
But what about the author who frantically searches for his/her spot? They're not even rooted, and yet they continually are searching for that sunshine.
You have to have roots before you can grow. You have to be someone before you can reinvent yourself. I don't mean literally. We're all someone. I mean professionally. Dig in with both hands and embrace who you are. Explore every avenue. Do not give up. If you half-ass give everything a try, you've committed to nothing. And you deserve more. Demand it.
And when you've found your literary home, and you're comfy, then go on vacation every once in awhile. And see who else you can be.


Michelle said...

I think before reinventing yourself, you have to challenge yourself as a writer. Whatever daunts you or intimidates you--that's what you should be writing.

Nancy J. Bond said...

You said: "You have to have roots before you can grow. You have to be someone before you can reinvent yourself. I don't mean literally. We're all someone. I mean professionally. Dig in with both hands and embrace who you are..."

Well said, Crystal. One of my favorite quotes is "Fill your pages with the breathings of your heart." - William Wordsworth (man, was HE aptly named!) I think you have to, as you said, embrace who you are and write from the heart, write that which you know and love. Once you've set out those roots, then you can tinker with other venues. Good post. :)

Olga said...

Great post! I also think that before you challege yourself as a writer, you need to find your niche. But, though on a much smaller scale, maybe we're growing, changing as writers with every line we write, as we change as persons with every breath we take and every thought that passes through our mind. Just, um, a thought that passed through my mind.

kacey said...

I think as we're learning to write, we might try different types of books to find out what our voice is, what kind of books we're good at and that speak to us. I know it took me quite awhile to figure out what type of books I wanted to be when I grew up *g

chryscat said...

Michelle: I would snatch myself bald. I know my limitations. And I can stretch, but I can't stretch THAT far. A historical or regency? Oh Lord. I'd need to be medicated.
Nancy: Thanks! I really believe in what I said. To me, it just makes sense.
Olga: I just adore you. Yes. Very well said. But we have to have a base before we can have layers.
Kacey: Exactly. I wanted to write chick lit SO bad because that's all I was hearing about. Guess what? I can't. I'm so down to earth I leave a trail of dust when I walk. I don't understand fashion. I'm HOPELESS at it. That's why I try to broaden my horizons with what I know.

Amy said...

Great post! And I agree with Kacey, it's tough to figure out what's "right" for us as beginning writers. Sometimes I still wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But I'm sticking with it anyway. *g*

Katie said...

Oh, great post!! I've always said it would really help if someone would just tell me what I want to be when I grow up! And what is 'right' for me in my writing?
Good food for thought today.

Rene said...

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of writer I am. It really is difficult. When I first started writing, I knew exaclty what kind of writer I was and the genre. But the longer I write, the tougher it gets to define.

chryscat said...

Amy: I have no doubt you're on the right track. How's that clothes shopping thing going?
Katie: Yes. Do you ever get the "click" that says, "YES! WRITE THIS!" It's rather like the Hallelujah Chorus in your head.
Rene: Oh my. Are you wanting to branch out to other genres? Maybe you want to explore some new territory.

Tess Harrison said...

Great post! And so true. You have to know who you are and where you've been, before you can shift directions. If not you're going in circles.

chryscat said...

A great author without direction is like a sea captain without a compass. You know land's there somewhere, but you're not sure where. Heh