Writing In Different Genres Succeeds (If You’re Made for It)

(NB: My posts on writing/blogging normally go live on Saturdays, but I’m publishing this a day early). Do you do "cross-over" writing (that’s how I like to think of it!)? In other words, do you write in multiple genres?

If yes, you likely know you’re one of very few. Most of the advice I’ve encountered from “experts” has tended to support specializing in a particular writing genre. According to them, doing otherwise would amount to spreading yourself too thin, to be effective.

Hmm, I would say, not necessarily. It depends on who is doing it!

For Some, Being Multipreneurial Brings Out The Best In Them (& Makes Them MORE Useful to Society)

Despite reading and hearing from people who know, for years (even when I was in paid employment), I’ve never been able to fall in line. I’ve never been able to endure sticking with one genre. Or “one” anything. I simply cannot help myself. It’s a compelling urge.

You see, I think I have a demon in me that won’t let me NOT put my entire wealth of unique abilities to use. I actually believe most human beings have similar multiple inborn abilities. But many choose to suppress them in favor of one or a few, to avoid freaking others out.

Who wants to be seen to have 8 arms (figuratively and literally speaking) when everyone else has only two? “Not me!” is what most easy going people would say or think :-)

If simply willing the unwanted arms into hiding was possible, they would do it. If not, they’d probably get rid of the six extra arms by surgical means!

For me however, I’ve been patient enough to discover that my multipreneurial tendencies – more often than not – help me make the world around me better.

We cannot all be the same. I do not want to be like – or better than – anyone. I just want to be the best of ME, and help others willing to do the same in the process!

Since arriving here in Benin Republic, I’ve continued relating with new/old clients, locally, as well as back home, and even abroad, in the different areas I offer products. And I’m getting referrals, and repeat projects from high profile clients. I’m living my dream – despite starting up through very humbling circumstances. You can too, if you do not limit yourself.

Two Writers Who Inspire Me With Their Ability to “Cross Over”

1. Wole Soyinka

Yesterday (28th August 2013), I read an announcement – on Facebook – for commencement of preparations for the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

The organizers have always made the awards open to writers from all genres, because Soyinka himself writes in all.

Not surprisingly, the level of interest from writers from various genres in Africa is far from small. Starting with 87 entries from 8 countries in 2005 (the first year), the biennial competition has seen 204 entries from 10 countries in the 2nd edition, 336 entries from 11 countries in the 3rd edition, and 402 entries from 26 African countries in the 4th edition.

Possibly in order to ensure balance in assessing writing from different genres, from this year on, each edition is focused on a particular genre.

For instance, the 2014 edition will consider Drama (for which Soyinka is most renowned). 2016 will be for Poetry and 2018 for Prose. In 2020, the competition will consider essays on Politics, Freedom, Human Rights and Human Conditions, Leadership etc.

As can be seen from the above list, Soyinka’s writing cut across all those genres. Yet he did well enough to be reckoned with internationally. No wonder he won the Nobel Prize for Literature!

Virtually all African writers from every genre can enter for the Soyinka award today (to have their works considered for a hefty $20,000 US dollar prize!), because he chose not to limit himself to writing in one genre. He simply followed his instincts, drawing inspiration from his environment.

I think all participating writers should thank him for doing that. The organizers should also thank him as well.


Because Soyinka’s versatility has made their award appealing to a wider audience of writers than they would normally have gotten, had they stuck to a single (or a few) genre(s): FACT.

2. Roy Stevenson

Professor Soyinka ability to effortlessly write across genres will always inspire me. But being a freelance writer, I can relate even better to Roy Stevenson’s achievements.

I’ve never met, or even spoken to him. Not even via email.

Yet I aspire to be like him. This is a guy who makes (at least in freelance writing) the world turn around on it’s head.

I first saw his name on a promotional page, which AWAI linked from an email offer (titled “Open Auditions for Travel Writers”) they sent out.

Read the introduction on his writer website. It clearly indicates just how versatile, and accomplished he is at writing stories for many different genres, and niche magazines.

It’s true that the copy on his website is designed to make him look good. But one cannot argue with facts either.

This guy gets a lot of his writing published (over 800 articles!) in more than TEN(10) very different genres! Examples include wine and beer, running and triathlon training, military history, film festivals, and even classic vehicles!

With respect to the title of THIS article you’re reading (right now), the last sentence in the second paragraph on Roy’s home page speaks volumes. It basically states that his achievements show freelance writers that they can get published in multiple genres and publications. Just like he does.

And his clients feel he does them a world of good (see link below).

Roy says he has “diverse interests and experiences” plus he “enjoys writing in many genres.” I just love how he put that. It so perfectly describes how I feel about my own multidisciplinary writing :-))

Qualities Required for Successful Multidisciplinary Writing

How do these guys do what they do? What makes it possible for Roy, in particular, to write – seemingly effortlessly – across a wide variety of genres, when others cannot…and some even say it’s not possible?

What makes him able to do so, often times better than those who focus on one or a few genres?

There are clues one can easily pick up from what those he serves say. I’ll use what editors said in their testimonials, and comments by Visitor’s Bureaus, to list a few that showed through:

1. He has a passion for diverse subjects. He comes up with great story ideas and builds them attractively.

2. He is disciplined, very thorough…and prolific (over 800 articles published speaks top level “productivity”!)

3. He knows how to get the information he needs – by research, interviews and site visits.

4. He knows how to present imageries via professional photography often handled by his wife (Linda Popovich) – who is herself well accomplished in Freelance Photography – to convey fuller meaning to readers.

5. He is very skilled at communicating, and following up.

6. He knows how to write without jargon, breaking down the information for non-technical readers’ comprehension.

7. He knows how to strike a delicate balance in his writing, to meet the needs of readers, and at the same time address the concerns of editors and visitor’s bureaus.

8. He’s also good at selling his ideas to editors and clients – making most of his pieces pre-sold. The result is that they often get top feature spots, and wide readership – to the delight of all!

No wonder he gets so many rave testimonials. Roy’s multidisciplinary writing is a blessing to many!

NB: Anyone who wants to achieve similar results to Roy’s a multipreneurial freelance writer, will find doing the above worthwhile.


I “enjoy” writing – daily – on six different categories on my multidisciplinary blog. In addition, I also greatly enjoy writing stories for clients on different subjects e.g. audiology, real estate, law/legal matters, medicine, hospitality and entertainment, interior design, water treatment and purification etc.

Working this way makes every project feel like a brand new adventure. Never boring :-)

But I’m not the only one who benefits. My clients equally reap useful multiple rewards from having me around.

I recently helped a new client convert his static html website (for his farm, which is located in South West, Nigeria) to a dynamic/database driven Joomla! version.

When I finished work on the website, he hired me to develop a custom Excel-VB software to manage the farm (His driver will be transporting me to the farm, in Nigeria today – 30th August 2013 – so I can conduct a preliminary farm "situation analysis". We return to Benin Republic tomorrow).

A few days ago, I pitched (via email) the idea of using many amazing true life stories he’d told me, as an article series e.g. for his online business promotion via the website and social media.

As you can see from the email below, he instantly bought into the idea – and even thanked me for proposing it!

==========I sent the email pitch (below) to him just before going to bed========

From: tayo at spontaneousdevelopment dot com
cc: tayo solagbade at gmail dot com
To: (Name removed for privacy)
[Email/PDF title removed for confidentiality)
27th Aug 2013 23:17

Hi Sir,

The attached is an example of an article series I believe we can use to

1. promote you farm online to attract interest from your target audience.

2. Start rapidly building name recognition and credibility for you as a farm business expert, who aspiring farm owners/prospective retirees would GLADLY pay to consult!

Like I told you, it’s web marketing strategies like this, that make people like the Nigerian based in Saudi Arabia pay N20,500 to buy my PDF handbook and software for feed formulation.

I believe we can create valuable information products in physical book form, DVD videos and audios as well as PDF based on your wealth of knowledge and information on your farm.

With proper use of writeups like the attached, made available on your website, people will gradually discover what you offer online.

Then as you continue the web marketing, you’ll build this new aspect of your farm business into a passive income generating arm.

I suggest you read thru the PDF draft to decide if you’d like to adopt this strategy of web marketing I propose.

My thinking is that it would be best to start it now, ahead of your formal disengagement, so that it will have begun working for you with the search engines.

What’s more, we could even work to have the first information product ready for SALE, by end October.

Just my thoughts,


==========The client’s reply/acceptance (below) came first thing in the morning========

To: tayo solagbade at gmail dot com
From: (Name removed for privacy)
Your PDF write up
28th Aug 2013 06:58


This is a wonderful idea. I never thought you could succinctly capture my story this way.

After all, I am beginning to think its the best way to go because there still many untold story in try mind that could profit others and impact them positively.

We will keep it all the way. Thanks very much.

Looking forward to having a robust working relationship with you as we journey together forward at providing food and other products that would be pocket friendly.


(Name removed for privacy)

It goes without saying, that if I had stuck to my web design/excel software development services alone, this new opportunity would never have materialised.

If You Feel Like IT, Don’t Hold Back: Write On As Many Genres As You Find Necessary

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve never met Roy or Soyinka. Neither have I ever communicated with either of them. They are also not aware I’ve written this article featuring them , and I will NOT be telling them. I’ve used Soyinka as an example for obvious reasons (he’s a Nobel Laureate in Literature!); and Roy, because AWAI rate him very highly as a Top Instructor: which means he must be really successful as a freelance writer!

YOU (and I do mean YOU, reading this article at this very moment) CAN become another “Roy” or “Soyinka"…or better!

Something inside you could be telling you that, right now. Don’t ignore it.

Imagine if Roy had chosen only one or two, and turned away others who enquired after his services in their preferred genres? Imagine if Professor Soyinka had chosen to stick with just one genre?

Would the world have enjoyed as much benefit as it has today, from them?

I doubt it.

Indeed, as a multidisciplinary writer myself, I argue that those who follow this path can often use it to test and refine their writing in each genre. Over time they may find one that yields the best rewards.

In the process, they’ll also improve their proficiency in the other genres, often to a level comparable with that of those who specialize exclusively in them.

And the world would be a better place because they did so.

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[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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Tayo K. Solagbade*
Performance Improvement Specialist & Multipreneur
*Best Practice Farm Business Support Specialist
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