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I've pretty much always written what I wanted. I didn't worry about the genre or the age of the audience or the length of the piece. I've written horror, contemporary, and humorous stories. I've written for adults and YA. I've written short stories, flash and hint fiction.
But every once in awhile, I get it into my head that I need to define and declare myself as a writer - I am a YA horror writer! I am a women's fiction author! I then throw myself into learning the "rules," studying up, reading articles and blog posts…only to have a totally different story idea rise up and demand to be written, definition of who I now am as a writer be damned!
I could use a pseudonym, but I've written proudly under my own name for so long that I really don't want to go down that route unless absolutely necessary.
But I worry. What will readers expect when they see my name on a story? Will those who love the creepy stuff be disappointed in a more heartwarming piece? Will those expecting a "nice" story end up hiding under the bed, terrified of crazy spiders and monsters lurking near baseball fields? I don't want to let any of my readers down.
Have you defined yourself as a writer? If so, how? Was it easy, like you always knew you wanted to write mysteries, or did you struggle with the decision? If you write all over the place like I do, how do you handle it? Does it worry you at all, or am I just over-thinking it?