I Write Outside the Box That People Keep Trying to Put Me In

Outside the box

I like to read author interviews, doesn’t really matter whether it’s an author who is already bestseller famous or one that is just publishing their first novel (although I tend to like the first timer interviews the best).  I love when the person doing the interview poses the question of what type of writer they consider themselves because I always like to see if their answer would be anything like mine would be.  Some are but a lot of writers tend to stick to the same type of book, or rather the same genre.

I once had someone tell me that I needed to write urban fiction (or street lit) because that is what is selling in the African American community.  My response to that was that’s not my type of writing.  I don’t write for one specific race, or cultural community, I write for everyone, but mostly I write for me.  The funny thing is that thinking back, when I set out to be a writer, I mean really got into the idea of wanting to write novels and not just poetry and stories, I knew that I did not just want to stick to one genre or style of writing.

I know that a lot of some of the greats did that, they were known for one genre type or another, but I never wanted to be predictable.  I wanted to surprise my readers and my fans and I didn’t want them to be able to predict what type of book I would come out with next.  When I had my first novel published (in which I plan on re-releasing soon) there were some people who said “oh this is the type of book that white people read” and that was just off of reading the back of the book, before even opening to the first page.  I responded with the fact that I hope that it’s the type of book that EVERYONE reads.

I write the type of things I myself would like to read, and although I’m not going to deny that I have read urban fiction in the past, those are just not the kind of books I like to read.  My first novel was considered contemporary fiction, and my second may be as well, but I know I have a mystery that’s going to come out as well, a self-help book for writers (which will start come out as an ebook series first), and a historical fiction novel soon to come as well.  I also still write poetry and have a huge collection of poetry that I will release as separate books soon, a children’s (mid-grade) series that I want to write, as well as I’ve been recently inspired to write some paranormal fiction but that is still up in the air.

I’m not just a one genre writer, and I don’t say that to say that there is anything wrong with those that are, but I don’t like people placing labels of what I should be writing on me either.  Just because I am African American I am supposed to write this urban literature which is an insult really because it implies that it’s all that African American’s can write and I know that’s not true.  I want to write for everyone and I want my messages in my articles or my novels, or my poetry, to reach everyone because that’s what it’s about for me.

Sure if I was solely in it for the money then I guess I would write whatever is popular but then I’m not being true to myself and then readers are liking an image that is made up, not the real me.  So if you are feeling pressured to write something that is simply not you, don’t fall into that trap.  You have to stay true to yourself because while it may take a little while longer to get to your destination this way, you can bet that you will certainly stay at the top longer by doing so.  Stay blessed and don’t be afraid to write outside of the box!


Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…


Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine







2 thoughts on “I Write Outside the Box That People Keep Trying to Put Me In”

  1. I love that you stay true to yourself first and foremost. I think non-writers have a difficult time wrapping their brain around the fact that most writers do not write to make money. They have to write for themselves, and for the pure joy of it. It is very difficult to make a living just from writing fiction. If you don’t do it for yourself you are in for heartache. 🙂

  2. This is a great post and I love that like myself, you don’t want to be penned into a box of what you write and what you don’t write. I want the freedom to write whatever I want in whatever genre I choose. I think the thing I need to get back to is writing for ME. I have been trying to write what I thought would please a large audience and I just need to get back to writing for myself…so thank you!

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