It’s Okay to Be Your Genre

Some authors become so famous for writing books in a certain genre, they get stuck in it. You’ll always think of Stephen King as a horror author, and we all know that Agatha Christie was the Queen of mystery. But it’s okay to be unfaithful to your genre. Shel Silverstein, one of the most famous kids’ authors of all time, was completely unfaithful -- wickedly so.

At some point, someone probably read to you from Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," one of the most well-known children's stories of all time. His poems and drawings have delighted generations of children. But Shel Silverstein had another job you probably didn't know about: Playboy.

He drew cartoons for the notorious gentleman's magazine, but these images weren't at all fit for kids. His cartoons included a lot of text, which itself was full of innuendo, and drawings of naked people.

This wasn't a brief, just-starting-out type of gig with Playboy, either. Silverstein worked for the magazine for about 40 years, well after his career as a children's author took off.

So you don't have to be faithful to any one genre. Write in whatever genre, in whatever form of media, that interests you most, even if you like more than one. Even if the ones you like seem really, really different. If it worked for Shel Silverstein, it can work for you, too.

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