Lately I have been a part of a few discussions revolving around categorization, and belonging to a specific group. Whether it is a cultural group, or an artistic genre, the opinions in these discussions seemed to favour individualism over categorization. When being placed into a category, I have seen one of three reactions: a blunt refusal or denial, along with a heavy defense, a reluctant approval, or a casual shrug and no comment whatsoever. There seems to be a reluctance to identify oneself within a particular group.
As a writer, I have had my own troubles when it comes to fitting into a specific genre. I have been asked many times in the past: “what kind of stuff do you write.” And I never know how to properly answer that question. Genre used to never cross my mind. Is it really that important? Should a writer seek to belong to a specific criteria or style?
There were two arguments for this idea. On the one hand, an artist would rather no be considered a part of larger context or genre. In this way, they are not limited to writing about certain topics, or be expected to stay within the genre. Of course there are ways out of the box. A pseudonym; another identity. Being a genre writer doesn’t make you more or less of a writer. I believe that the argument sometimes is that the individual doesn’t want to be written off as a one-trick artist. The other end of the spectrum, is the benefit of belonging to a specific genre. In this way you could belong to a community, or be a part of a niche. Those who like reading a similar style may find you, and you can increase your audience.
I don’t know what kind of writer I am, and I’m sure that the identification could change as well. I could be known for one thing one year, and five, ten years later would want to write something completely different. But I know what I like, and I believe that is what is important, over everything else.
photo reference: http://dragonm5394.deviantart.com/art/writer-s-cage-279269628