A phrase I’ve heard many times in my life (which makes my ADHD mind cringe) is, “To be successful, you must pick one thing, stick to it, and do it well.” It’s loosely based on the quote, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” In publishing, that translates, “To be successful you must choose a genre and write only that.”
However, the original quote is, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” (William Shakespeare) It was intended as a compliment, meaning that a person is versatile and adept at many things. Sadly, over the years, the last part of that phrase has been removed and with it, the meaning distorted.
I have been in different aspects of publishing for many years and have learned that success is measured in numerous ways. If you are someone whose mind jumps around, then sticking to one genre can be restrictive, mind-numbing, and stifling of productivity. Whereas if you are a person who is extremely focused, too many genres are 100% out of the question.
I’ve acquired different skills through the years and people have often said, “Wow, you can do so many things,” but secretly I always felt I was a bit of the jack of all trades and a master of none. Then, one day, God brought all of those skills together for one purpose. Being a photographer, graphic designer, advertising exec, media and public relations consultant suddenly joined with my publishing career—my “hobby” of writing becoming the cornerstone. In all of that time, decades’ worth, I never would’ve seen it coming.
God works in ways we can’t imagine.
All of that being said, whatever story comes to me, I write it. I don’t think about the genre or the “business” … I simply write. It may not be the “smart” thing to do, but it is authentically all-over-the-place me.
Hope you all enjoy!