Switching your genre? Things to know before writing for a new one in a digital space

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‘Is it a smart move to switch genres?’ I have contemplated over this all my professional life. From fashion and lifestyle to travel to cricket to brand writing. The answer hangs between yes and no. Yes, experimenting with a genre does stretch your creative abilities and helps you grow as a writer, but publishing successfully in more than one genre is challenging. My cricket correspondent role was all about storytelling interviews or narrating a nail-biting match to the T. While brand writing does involve creativity, it requires planning, strategy, and a lot of dos and don’ts.  

  • Grow as a writer: Thankfully, I always belonged to the digital space and continue to be so. But moving from cricket writing to brand writing did require some tweaks. Of course, it was a creative exercise and a breakout of my usual routine. Where cricket writing involved interviews and research done on-ground most of the time, brand writing relies on reading, reading, and more reading. This reading could be understanding the offerings of the brand, genre convention, or knowing the reader’s expectations from the article. Homework is essential. Only then can you adapt to the style and tropes. 

    For instance, the day Virat Kohli breaks the record books, there is no full stop to adjectives. The change is when brands do not believe in glossy terms, and you need to keep it all minimalistic. Subject matter expectations keep varying. The more aware you become of these differences, the stronger you become as a writer, and easier it is for you to cross into the world of a new genre.
  • New genre can’t hurt: Moving to a new space of writing means starting over, no matter how good you were in the previous one. All that hard work I put into branding myself as cricket connoisseur, did draw a specific target audience. I take the flipside in good stride. Yes, I reach out to new readers with my latest work. 
  • Scheduling: Considering it was a typical newsroom atmosphere, the concept of planning for the next day never existed. A piece of breaking news and bam, the whole day was madness. For instance, MS Dhoni decides to step down as captain of limited-overs cricket. I never went home that day. Today, I can go ahead and plan what needs to be done the next day and what can be pushed for the day after. Prioritising brands and revolving your content strategy around it is a must. If you crack the code, your monthly schedule does not get hindered. 

In the end, what matters is not the label but your craft. Write whatever you do, well. If you feel you want to leave one box for another, know that you can. Start by taking baby steps, dear writer!