The Prompter Room

For Wednesday, December 16, 2015:


“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”

Virginia Woolf

If you are a writer who works in more than one genre, can you do more than one project at the same time?  If so, I envy you!  For the most part I can write in only one at a time.

It’s frustrating sometimes.  The best I can do is jot down quick thoughts or a certain word for, say, a possible poem if I happen to be immersed in writing fiction.  For some reason, my brain seems to be wired in a way that can process only one working genre at a time.  So I go through periods of time – sometimes long ones – where I write poetry only, and then others where it’s primarily fiction.  The one genre that can cross the boundaries in my brain and my work is creative non-fiction.

Maybe it’s a right brain-left brain thing.  My reading material doesn’t seem to affect my work, though.  I can read poetry and non-fiction while writing fiction, or fiction while working out a poem.  I just can’t write in them.

Is this what Woolf meant?  I don’t know.  I do know, though, that I don’t fret about it anymore.  Instead I go with the flow, as it were.  If I’m in a poetry period, I don’t push my fiction brain, and vice versa.  I’ve learned the words will come when they come.

Sometimes life intervenes, of course, and I have to respond with a poem or two or a story when I’m working on something else.  At those times, the interruption — the arrangement, perhaps? — seems to work.  It gets me over the hurdle of emotion and I can get back to what I had been working on.

Am I alone in this, or in the minority?  I’ve always wondered …


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