Experimentation is what I live for as a writer. Experimentation brings on the thrill, something entirely new. I have written in pretty much every genre as a writer, engaged in as many writing exercises as I could ever find and took as many classes as I found/ my mom was willing to pay for. I have tried every form of writing that there is to try and I've tried to write every form of those kinds of writings. Through experimentation, I found out what I was good at and what I wasn't good at when I came to writing.
I can be surprised sometimes when I do it, even once in a while. When I experiment with my writing, I never know what to expect. Sometimes, my writings turn out to be a complete flop because, throughout the whole thing, I had no idea what I was doing. Sometimes, because I didn't know what I was doing, it was super hard and I hated it. But then other times, I'm free in ways that make me just want to write and write and write. I find that I love doing something that I didn't think that I'd love to do. And then I come back to it and write more and more like that.
The unexpected results can be the most beautiful thing about experimenting with writing. It's so beautiful, so whimsical in that. The first time is the hardest, of course, but sometimes when you come back to it, you can find that you're quite good at that form of writing. If you're bad at it even, you have nothing to lose either.
Experimenting challenges you, most of all. I've found that experimenting has pushed my boundaries like nothing else has and tested me like nothing else can. That's the most important thing about it, I think. Certain forms and genres of writing are so different than other forms. If you're used to writing in one form, you can find that writing in a different once forces you to stretch your mind and think in ways that you didn't think of before.
That certainly was what it did to me when I went to writing camp. It came up with one of the best results that I have ever come up with when I have experimented and took one of the biggest leaps that I ever took.
Just recently, I wrote the character of Harry Wei. Harry Wei is an Asian, gay, born-again Christian pothead with a few, um, interesting qualities and explanations about the world (and pretty much a total loser). When we first came up with him in my group (our assignment a character sketch), he was a joke. But then I wrote him, took him on and... He became the class mascot. I soon found that I was writing story upon story upon story in his voice.
I usually write dark stories. Most of the time, I write fantasy novels and short stories but when I write realistic fiction, I always write them dark. Ambiguity is something that I need to work on and so that's what I've been trying to do. Harry Wei introduced something that I was never quite able to pull off... Humor. Humor was that forbidden stretch that I was never quite willing to really cross into before.
Also, I think experimenting with writing will keep your writing mind sharp and you from every being in a rut. Ruts, of course, kill writing and makes a work bland and trite. I've seen so many of my favorite writers get caught up in them and it's always such a tragedy to see them peddling out book after book of the same old generic thing. Experimentation forces you out of there and writing in an entirely different way. It keeps you entirely on your toes. Of course, it can be scary place to be and a hard one, but it keeps you out of the rut.
One base thing for me to remember is that experimentation is what made me a writer. Through it, I found out what struck home with me. I found out what I was good at, what I was best at writing. I worked at it and I got better and better and better. Continuing to experiment will keep me a better writer.
It's easy to do the same old thing, to stay in the same nice corner. But as a writer, I can't. There's so many thing to write, so many thing to try. I will keep trying the pallate of different writing tastes until they burn my mouth off.