“Writer’s Block” is a form of balderdash for which some writers have no time. Some of us never get stymied, b’ayin hara, breeding ideas. We write, or edit, or facilitate writing and editing courses, for as many hours per day as we can, except for religious holidays and Sabbath.
In my case, because my writing goals stream across a scope of possibilities, I can temporarily put aside knotty texts and, instead, focus on other ones until I figure out a way to detangle the first set of gnarls. With Hashem’s help, I create religious essays as readily as I create contemporary one-acts; I write works that are flash length as enthusiastically as I write book-length pieces; and I’m truly as happy to work in drama, as I am to work in poetry, in fiction, or in nonfiction.
In balance, some publishers scoff at us “resourceful” writers. Those gatekeepers want to compartmentalize the authors that they sign to their lists for the sake of those gatekeepers’ bottom line, i.e. they want to engage in uncomplicated means of branding their authors in order to more quickly and more directly profit from them.
Nonetheless, writers of my ilk find it acceptable to be playwrights simultaneous with being poets. We know that the world rarely derides chefs, for instance, who are fusion cooks, or who are, concurrently, masters of: French, Vietnamese, and Yemenite cuisines. Skill sets, after all, are transferrable. We grasp that adroit authors are no more panderers than are ingenious restaurant professionals or than are folk who stick to a single genre. It is possible to be able to bring into being more than one sort of goods, especially when those commodities are related.
What’s more, not only is it possible to write across foci and categories, (or to cook with an array of leafy vegetables and alliums), but it is correspondingly beneficial to do so.
First, there’s the issue of syzygy. Slipstream fiction, for instance, is born from the genetic material of speculative fiction mixed with the genetic material of literary fiction. Cross-genre fiction, similarly, derives from the improbable couplings of various types of assemblages of words. Yoking together disparate critters might be against Torah law for plowing agricultural plots, but such tethering is highly recommended as well as is permissible for plowing literary ones.
Moreover, bewildering pairings often lead to special yields. “Feeling Happy,” for instance, was a hybrid short story I brought into existence because of the 2014 meme, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams, in combination with news reports, from that same period, concerning new, Persian suppressions of human rights. Comparably, my poem “Mother/Maiden/Crone” (scroll down), developed from the confluence of inheritable factors given over by my herbal medicine teacher’s instructions on attending to variances among age groups, in combination with my transformation into a grandmother.
Second, even when pieces of writing are devoid of the synergist qualities ordinarily associated with syzygy, it remains true that, when completing unlike projects in chorus, writers tend to enjoy good outcomes. Meaning, even if the origins of a portion of writing are not “atypical,” the ends, to which a piece of writing can speak, might yet be nonconforming.
For instance, I’ve used imaginary settings as a pulpit for serious matters. I’ve employed tales, such as Ten Kilo and One Million, which contain Fursuiters, to teach Derech Eretz, and I’ve employed tales, such as “An Investigation’s Gestation,” which are filled with futuristic cops and robbers, to teach about life’s fragile, precious nature. As well, I’ve made use of nonfiction, such as “Writers’ Commerce and the Steering Clear of Unified Communication Devices,” to reinforce ideas about critical thinking, rather than relegate those “inexplicable” notions to make-believe realms. Parenting essays can be utilized to advance questions about environmental stewardship. Memoir excerpts about sma’achot can be put to use to increase awareness about neighborhood violence. Irrespective of whether or not any given book or shorter work is propagated by progenitors that are poles apart, or is responsible for unexpected scion, the intentional use of atypically grown methods for theses helps writers.
Granted, some word players that insist on depending on any of several lone, traditional approaches to single genre (and even single subgenre) work have great fiduciary and critical success. Nevertheless, many writers feel that writing across boundaries, not sticking to prescribed foundations, best aids their work. Think of figure skaters that study ballet and of farmers that plant oats or rye as “green manure.” Isaac Asimov, for instance, was known for his science fiction, but as unhesitatingly wrote popular science and academic works. Likewise, William Shakespeare wrote scores of wonderful plays, but he wrote scores of wonderful sonnets, too. Equally, John Lennon, in addition to crafting popular lyrics, wrote whimsical books.
Not only does writing from unrestricted points of departure allow improved originality, but such a strategy also enables makers to tilt at verities, and to manifest other quixotic behaviors. Videlicet, odd manners of initializing the writing process frequently lead to the discovery of fresh routes to important realizations.
Consider that the topoi, from which writing springs, live in a number of levels of the jungle canopy, or, said in another way, exist in a number of strata of the atmosphere. The critters that dwell in the undergrowth differ from those that dwell in the understory, save for the times when select, enterprising, understory beasts visit the canopy or even the emergent layer in order to find food or shelter. Those creatures often prosper when others fail because of their willingness to take risks.
In the same way, whereas certain vehicles, such as weather balloons or airplanes, are designed to travel in the mesosphere, there is little that keeps communications satellites and rockets from puncturing the stratosphere and mesosphere, only to fly higher, through the thermosphere, to the ionosphere, and beyond.
For instance, when I wrote an essay about the relative wonders attendant to raising emerging adults, “Mother’s Mother,” I became sufficiently enthused to submit, elsewhere, a poetry collection about parenting, Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties. Further, my composing a novel, in which one of the main characters is a demented woman from Tsfat, Upon the Lion and the Serpent (Cactus Moon Publications, 2018, Forthcoming) triggered my need to construct a story about elder abuse, “Precious’ Grandma.” Analogously, after writing a few hundred essays about being a proud Israeli, in The Jerusalem Post blog, “Middle Eastern Musings,” it made sense for me, to mix some of those postings with related, published bits to fashion the book Rhetorical Candy (Seashell Boos, 2018, Forthcoming).
In essence, ideas cultured from sources that are nothing like each other necessarily bud more ideas. Think of the asexual reproduction of sea coral. Usually, only “environmental pollution” kills such organisms.
Finally, in most circumstances, it behooves writers not to rely on limited starting points, but to write in far-reaching ways because readers are, understandably, picky. Given the glut of available choices for swallowing down ideas, the average consumer of printed material seeks “tasty” portions. Sure, there are numerous readers that insist on a particular genre or length, but there are increasingly sums of readers that want something novel. Charlie Jane Anders writes in “The Rise of Slipstream: [‘]The Audience Is Weirder than It Used To Be,[’]” “there could be a genuine flowering of interest in genre-warping fiction rather than just a handful of literary authors dipping their toe into speculative weirdness.”1 Sometimes, audiences want literature that’s not vanilla.
For the reasons of wanting to: mix stock, raise innovative generations, provide alternative illuminations on important ideas, and retain or improve market shares, lots of writers look to crossbred jump off points when they begin writing. Honey-slicked ideas that are packaged in neon-colored wrappers can be at least as attractive as simple, grey papers. That is, an eclectic approach to the prewriting stage of the process can spawn much sought after results.
Got milk? Nope; I have issues with dairy. However, I’ve got turtledoves and two-headed, gelatinous wildebeests. More importantly, I’ve got the wherewithal to include them in all kinds of written works.
1. Charlie Jane Anders. “The Rise of Slipstream: [‘]The Audience Is Weirder than It Used To Be.[’]” io9. https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-rise-of-slipstream-the-audience-is-weirder-than-i-1683827786