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Should I focus on one genre if I want to become a writer?

I have tried at both fiction and poetry, and I have found out that I like writing fiction more than I like writing poetry. Should I focus on fiction or try and become better at poetry if I want to be a successful writer? art writing creative english-composition

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Kendall’s Answer

Hi Valerie,

I've also studied both fiction and poetry. I think it's important to write whatever feels natural to you, whatever you're drawn towards and compelled to write. Poetry is wonderful, and it often helps people become better writers overall (it helps with metaphor, imagery, language, word choice, rhythm, etc). But it's not required to be a successful writer.

I studied fiction, and took some poetry classes because I liked the challenge of thinking and writing in a different way. But now I write only fiction, because that is where my interest lies.

Best of luck!

I am very interested in my career because of your information Hajira N.

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David’s Answer

Excellent Valerie! Keep on asking these questions. After a while, assuming the discussion is productive, or even, if there's no discussion, you've asked questions that originated from the heart of your mind; and by so doing, you've probably already answered your own questions, without knowing it.

Remember the original Stark Trek episode titled "The City on the Edge of Forever," the ancient time machine entity, which was neither vegetable or mineral, if I recall its statement to either Spock or Captain Kirk; well, when it was asked "What are you?," it replied (paraphrasing) "Ah, a question!," which started its mechanism of time travel. The instant you ask a question, you're already in the process of answering your ow n question; and in a way, ready to take a trip in space and time.

So the question posed here and now is "Should I focus on one genre if I want to become a successful writer?" It depends on where you are and what you have been doing during the evolution of your writing career. Let's assume you're in junior college now and that you've been writing for several years, either at home or in high school; or even better, you're a senior at some university where you've been writing like a bat out of hell (sorry for the wild flying rodent simile).

In such a place and time, you're honing your skills in many areas of expertise and literary prowess, may it be fiction or poetry. You're writing about all sorts of topics, in different genres, and voicing your authorial texts, that is, what you want to be saying through the language of your own writing, the vehicle that drives communication in speech or writing, and with its points of view, aspects of reference, and varied distancing techniques used in, say, fiction. Let's not forget mentioning about either your natural or acquired skills in poetry.

I have personally studied and modestly wrote poetry, a few pieces even published, during my undergraduate and graduate education; and continued my main career push in that direction, with English Romantic Poetry, 18th and 19th centuries. Then, I got interested in the politically motivated and journal written poetics between Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning. After that I moved on to other forms of postmodern and poststructural poetry, some of which was, and still is, almost like abstract painted and lyrically sounding lettering, set down in near geometrical order and patterned on flat surfaces. What ever! So you see even that even screenplay writers dabbles in varied genres of writing. Unless you are committed to a specific form of writing, which is forced upon you by a career in the writing game, maybe scriptwriting, you should continue to explore the varied possibilities with the literary genres, fiction, poetry, ... ect.

So with that said, Valerie, go ahead and experience the rainbow of possibilities; while you chip away at carving a niche for yourself, with a genre that you love and are naturally disposed to succeed with (could be a better sentence - what ever). Good luck, Valerie.

I am very interested in my career because of your information Hajira N.

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Crystal’s Answer

You "become" a writer by writing. It is important to understand the forms and formats,* but forcing yourself to write in a genre you don't enjoy is probably not the best use of your time and energy. If you love to read poetry but not write it, do the former and ignore the latter. If you'd like practice poetry, perhaps you can incorporate poetic forms in your fiction writing.

*I fought the urge to write function.

I am very interested in my career because of your information Hajira N.

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Gil’s Answer

Focus on the genre that you enjoy the best and gives you the most satisfaction. If you feel that you are better at a particular genre, chances are that is where your talent lies, so pursue that one. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy other types of writing or spend time with those. Working in other areas gives you more flexibility and enhances your love of language and expression. There are authors who write across genres. Great writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, for example, wrote short stories, poetry, and novels - and, of course, he was good at all of them! Essay writing is another genre that is often neglected. In the long run, writing is writing. Recommend you join a writers group so you can get some feedback on what others think of your work and which areas are your strongest. Good luck and keep at it.