June IWSG: My Genre Jam

Hi, friends! It’s the first week of June, and you know what that means: a new edition of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group Blog Hop!

This month’s question is: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

First, let’s talk reading. Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut. I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.” (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 10th Anniversary Edition, p.145)

I’m not quite as voracious as Mr. King. (Then again, I suspect he’s not parenting three kids and doing all his own housework, so I’m giving myself some grace on this whole book-count situation.) A few years ago, I started keeping records of the books I read. I finished fifty-six in 2016, forty-five in 2017, and sixty-seven in 2018. Not too shabby for this season of life!

To break it down by genre, in the past six months I’ve read the following:
7 mainstream women’s fiction
6 Christian Living (non-fiction)
4 Christian speculative fiction
3 Christian women’s fiction
1 writing craft (non fiction)
1 mainstream thriller/suspense 
1 mainstream comedy
1 Christian romance

My tastes in reading material are a little like my tastes in breakfast food: I’ll eat ANYTHING, but I tend to get stuck with a favorite and eating oatmeal every day for a month until I burn out and switch to bagels. I sometimes read lots of light-hearted fiction (chick lit or up lit or women’s fiction with romantic subplots) and then switch to heavy documentary style nonfiction for ages.  I also enjoy the occasional memoirs, mainstream nonfiction, YA contemporaries, and YA fantasies. So, if I zoomed out to look at the stats for what I’ve read over the past year or nine months, you’d probably see some representation in those genres, too.

My favorite genre to write in is women’s fiction—but (confession) it’s the only genre I’ve written in long-form seriously. I’ve written a few articles for magazines and a few children’s stories for my own kids, and of course I’ve been blogging here for years. But when I decided to jump into novel writing, the stories I really wanted to tell were definitely women’s fiction. The first manuscript was mainstream and my second is Christian, but both center around women’s lives and the friendships and family relationships that carry them through their emotional journeys.

And you? If you’re a reader, what’s your jam? If you’re a writer, join us on the blog hop!


18 thoughts on “June IWSG: My Genre Jam”

  1. Wow. You’re doing great in the reading and writing area! I’ve been using Goodreads to keep track of my reading, and listening. It’s fun to get the grand total at the end of the year.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!
    Mary at Play off the Page

    • Thanks, Mary! I’m not a Goodreads user–I think I set up an account several years ago, but I haven’t kept up with it. Right now I track my reading on pen and paper in my yearly planner. I like the idea of using GR, though–that definitely has the social aspect since you can share your lists and see what friends are reading. Hmmm…. you may have given me a project for the new school year! 🙂

  2. Great post, Michelle! I enjoyed it! The Stephen King quote is one of my favorites! And I believe every word of it! I read and enjoy books of every genre – it’s all according to my mood at the time and what I need. I typically read 125+ books a year. As a writer, I tend to favor the Romance/Suspense/Thriller genre and am currently working on a book that falls in the R/S genre.

    • Thanks, Sandra! I keep On Writing close at hand–it does such a great job for me at being an inspiration or a kick in the pants, by turns. I also love Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life for the same purposes. I am absolutely AGOG at your 125+ titles per year! That’s fantastic! I know genre romance are generally shorter works, but that is still a huge amount of reading! Maybe I can work my way up to a number like that someday. 🙂

  3. Gosh there’s a lot of us, isn’t there? 🙂
    You’re getting a lot of reading done for as busy as you are:)
    I’m trying to support my fellow authors so I’m reading a variety of genres right now AND trying to limit the genres I write in. Heh.
    Have a productive, pleasant week.

    • Thanks for visiting! That’s a great point–when we read widely we can support authors across the board. Have a great week, too!

    • I only started keeping track of the books I was finishing after a season where I was barely reading at all. (I had three young kids and was homeschooling, so when I had time to read I was always reaching for parenting and teaching books, and occasionally Christian living titles, but it suddenly dawned on me about three years ago that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d picked up a novel. I actually got a little mad about it! But that inspired me to make the time to read for fun and read across lots of genres again. 🙂

  4. It’s very logical that you have to read a lot and write a lot in order to be a writer. It’s sound advice. I’m a slow reader, so I can’t read as many as Stephen King per year, but I keep up the best that I can.

  5. I don’t think it’s about how many books you read, just that you read them, enjoy them, and if you don’t, think critically about why not.

  6. I’ve been doing the Goodreads Challenge for a few years now, and I’ve been pretty steady with reading about 80 or so books a year. Every once in awhile I try for 100, but that’s often a real push. 🙂

    • Oooh, I’ve always loved a good challenge! Y’all are making me think Goodreads is a *definite* possibility for a new school year project!

    • Thanks, Beverly! Having a consistent writing practice is great, too. 🙂 I aim for 6 days a week, and sometimes life interferes, but usually I meet that goal.

  7. I used to read so much, I made reading one of my summer goals. I’m reading an Amish Romance now, it’s a first for me.


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