By any other name

I recently changed the name of my blog. It’s a pretty subtle change, but it illustrates a big difference in the way I think about myself, my writing and my blogging.

The old blog name was:

Jill of All Trades

and the new blog name is:

Jill of All Genres

What’s the difference, you might ask yourself. Well, I should probably tell you a little story of why I called myself “jill of all trades” to begin with.

It used to be, when I was a student, I had about a hundred part time jobs. All at the same time. I was a partner in a small literary agency, I was a writer, but I also watched houses (and pets) while folks were out of town. So, at one point I made a business card for myself. Let me insert a picture of the card here:

One of my mentors scoffed at me including all the various jobs on my business card, especially “housesitter,” but it was one of the ways I made my living. Also, I didn’t feel like I could just claim “writer,” not at that time. The card would have felt so blank, with nothing to hide behind if it had just said:

Emilie Staat, Writer.

When I graduated from the MFA program at LSU, my card was woefully out of date. I no longer agented. I no longer housesat. But I still wrote. Not only that, but I was now a Master of Fine Arts and a great pun occurred to me. And hence, my new business card:

And this card served me well until I ran out of them and then dithered about my new business card. I’d had the old ones cheaply made at Kinko’s and they no longer had the striking pink paper or the same business card service. It was time to upgrade to a nicer card anyway. Something like Jamey‘s gorgeous business cards. But as I’ve said, I dithered and stalled.

But now I know why.

I am now at a place in my life where I have many jobs and commitments again, but almost every single one of them is related to my talents and interests as a writer. Jill of All Trades has become misleading because I am not a waitress or a carpenter or a lawyer or a computer technician like other writers I know. I only operate within one trade these days, a trade that has many facets, which we often call genres.

I have finally built a life for myself, rocky though it almost always is, where I use my writerly instincts and experiences to make a living. How and when did this happen? It’s so surprising that it’s easy to forget that I was building this life, working for it with all my might.

But it’s just the first step. A serious first step in a new direction and I’m glad to be on this path. I think it’ll be time for new business cards soon…



Filed under freelance work, funny, musing, writing updates

4 responses to “By any other name

  1. Pingback: Quick Post #4 | Rachel Marsh

  2. Dotty

    Wooofreakinghooooo!!!! May your writerly life flourish and grow and shine, and may you never have to scoop up a clients’ dogs’ poop every again! 🙂

    I found your blog by searching for Strange Fate, and it was lovely to find another 30-something fan of LJ Smith. {{hug! No, don’t bite me!}} However, when I saw you were also a Toni McGee Causey fan, I squealed! I have two little kids and another on the way, so I don’t freaking have *time* to read as much as I used to, but TMC captured my heart and soul with one little line: “a day without disaster was a day in someone else’s life.” When I first read her BF’sVVVVVBD, I was pregnant w/ my second girl, and laughed so hard that big fat tears were dripping down my face into my Barnes & Noble tripple-chunk cookie. So glad I found your blog! So, you’re a “Jill of all Genres?” 🙂 {{another hug}} What are you working on right now? I wrote screenplays until it was obvious that I wouldn’t be moving to LA anytime soon 😛 and now i’m outlining a novel. I got a BA in creative writing (yawn) but without a MFA, my 1 claim to fame is that I got to take classes under Kim Edwards (the memory keeper’s daughter) before she was famous. 🙂

  3. @Dotty: Thanks for your well-wishes. 🙂 I haven’t housesat for along time, but the principal holds true. lol I’m glad you’re a TMC fan as well and I love your vivid description of finding the Bobbie Faye books. Not only am I a huge TMC fan, I’m lucky to have Toni as a mentor and friend. A lot of what I know about living a writing life, I’ve learned from watching Toni live her life as a published writer. I’ve written in pretty much every genre at this point, at least a little bit. I’m writing nonfiction (book reviews, etc) and working on a novel, as well as short stories. I recently figured out how to fix a screenplay I’d started a while back, so I’ll go back to that soon as well. I find each genre has its own particular lessons and freedoms and they all teach me how to understand the others better.Good luck with your novel!

  4. Pingback: My end of 2011 homework | Jill of All Genres

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