Writing in different genres

Writing in different genres doesn’t seem like such a big problem. I’ve been writing short stories and poetry for adults and stories for young adults and middle grade since forever. Switching between genres didn’t seem particularly difficult and I rarely noticed it consciously. I didn’t usually write for all the genres at the same time, instead I finished one work, took a pause, and then started on someting else.

Writing a novel as part of research for one’s PhD is a different sort of a monster, I find. There are deadlines, research requirements, supervisor’s view of things, research questions, critical essays, articles to be published, conferences to be attended. Big problem: lack of time. An even bigger problem: lack of time to read.

To get mysef into the mood to write something I need to read. If I’m about to write something for YA, I read YA. If I’m working on a poem (rarely, these days), I’ll read poetry. Not at the time I write so as not to be too influenced by what I read, but beforehand. But now? I have no time! I have to simultaneously work on my PhD novel to hand it in by the deadline and revise my YA novel if I want to get it to the publisher on time. And the whole thing is so confusing. Wait, that character is forty. Oh, so he doesn’t belong to this novel but to the other one. She’s seventeen, can she sound so mature? No, of course she can’t. She’s a teen, for christsakes!

I’m struggling. I’m trying to find the time to read adult novels but they’re usually more time consuming than YA, so I gravitate towards the latter. Which means more of my time is used up for YA and there’s less left for my PhD. I need to re-group and get my priorities straight. But I have that one YA story in my mind, just waiting to be written … And there I go again.

Anyone else struggles with the demands of writing for a PhD? How do you cope with it? I’m open for suggestions. 😉

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