I have a presentation where I talk about lessons learned from 163 short story submissions over the course of eight years. I broke it down mostly by genre. Counting poetry as its own little sub-category, I wrote short pieces in eleven genres. That's a lot. Here's how they break down.
- Folk Tale
- Science Fiction
- Urband Fantasy
Short stories are my experimental space. I try new things to see what works. I'd never spread myself so thin with novels. (John takes a peek at his novel-length writing...)
Oops. Guess what. I may not be quite as scattered, but here's the list of my novel-length fiction genres.
- Science Fiction
- Biography (fictionalized)
- Military Historical Fantasy (sort of a genre mash-up)
Many people tell authors to find a genre they love and to stick with it to have an easier path to success. This is because readers may like the science fiction I write, but may not be into fantasy. Sticking to one genre gives an author a more cohesive audience, and helps readers to find new stuff to read in their favorite genre by following the author.
The thing about that is that I think of myself as more of a generalized creator than an author in a specific genre. I grew up with my dad's library alphebetized by author. Thrillers and westerns sat next to science fiction and fantasy. I inherited that library and it sits in the room behind me on some shelves I built. It's still alphabetical by author.
This generalized concept of a creative doesn't stick to just writing, either. I've written software as my profession and as a hobby for decades. I do woodworking and calligraphy. I tinker with microcontrollers to run fancy Christmas lights. I've built a ukulele and Irish tin whistles. I still have a lego set that went with me to Brazil over 50 years ago. I like to creat things, and stories are one of those things I create.
I may focus primarily on one genre at a time (like how I'm doing more science fiction shorts now, and releasing my Polecat Protocol series this year), but my interests range pretty widely.
If you dig a little, I'm sure you'll find you have a list like mine, but with different content. If you want to bring out your creative side, maybe you will want to focus on one thing, like drawing dog portraits or bronze sculpture casting. Focus is a great way to become an expert and gain both skill and recognition. For others, being a generalist like me might work better.
Find your creative path and enjoy the ride.