Discussion: Pigeon-Holed Writers

Source: http://terryodell.blogspot.com

Editor’s Note: this post has been written by Steve Papesh, an Education major and Chinese minor at Lewis University. Steve is interning with the Jet Fuel Review this semester and will be contributing blog posts periodically.

As writers, it is easy to find ourselves pigeon-holed into a certain type of writing. It is easy to let a bit of positive reinforcement lull us into repeating our work over and over, rather than branching out and growing. This limiting of our writing can manifest itself in many ways. For instance, if a teacher told me that they liked my use of “for instance” as a transition, then it would be all too easy for me to begin to overuse that phrase because I believe that it is what people want me to sound like.

Another way in which we can become static in our writing could be by only writing in a specific genre because we have been told that we are good at it. I, for one, find that much of my writing is humorous and surreal but, if a writer only ever writes in one genre, it is possible that they could miss out on discovering a new area or genre to explore.

It is with this idea in mind that I began to purposely force myself to write in other genres, but the sudden change was not at all easy. When going to get feedback on a realism piece, I found that many people who had read my work before suggested that I go back to writing in a surreal manner. This push from my peers to return to a genre that I was more comfortable with was in a way justified, as the piece that I wrote was reminiscent of “a straight to DVD American Pie movie” as one of my more honest classmates put it. But I do believe that, by continuing to practice my realistic writing, I have not only improved as a writer, but I have also found a different genre of writing that I enjoy working in.

Do you find yourself being pigeon-holed as a writer? What genre do you consider to be your best?

— Steve Papesh

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