Sunday, 2 December 2012

Guest Post: Not My Genre!

This is a guest post by Sarah E. Hoffman about stretching your zine writing into new genres.  Sarah is a zinester, blogger, academic and gastronomist. She enjoys picnics, the smell of freshly baked bread and bobo tea. When stressed she bakes until the flour runs out. Sarah is married to a very understanding non-foodie, whom she is in the process of converting. Find her @Sarah999 or

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I used to have a variety of hobbies and interests but in the last five years I have become a person that has only one hobby. My hobby has permeated every aspect of my life and has become the lenses through which I approach every topic. My life is all food, all the time. However, this does not mean that I only write about carrots. I write about lessons, history, movement, surprise, and a variety of other topics. The following is an articulation of the process that I use to approach a writing prompt that does not strictly fall within the category of food.

Don't make assumptions. Your readers won't storm off in a huff if you write about something that is different from what you usually write about. Would you?

Keep your voice. Consistently writing in a unique voice can be the thread that ties all of your writing together.

Stretch. Find a call for submission that is the antithesis of your chosen topic and write a piece for it.

Brainstorm. Give each call for submission careful consideration. There is usually a way to write about your area while respecting the guidelines of the zine.

Make mistakes. It is acceptable to give up on a submission because the topic is too disparate from your area of interest.

Following this framework has the potential to make your contribution unique. For example, the expected contributions on the topic of red velvet cake would include family traditions, recipes, and birthday cake memories. The submission that results from combining robots and red velvet cake or bats and red velvet cake would be unique. If you write about the prompt through the lenses of a particular topic you will be remembered. Isn't that what we all strive for?

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