Lately, I've noticed more than a few writers switching genres and/or age groups. I've written across both for years, but I've noticed a definite trend in the books I've been drafting over the past year. They're all adult.
My first love was middle grade because I taught middle school. Then I had my daughter and was reading picture books, so I turned to writing those. I never set out to write young adult, but I got an idea one day that suited a young adult novel better than middle grade, so I ran with it. The one thing I swore I'd never write was adult. ;) We all know how that went.
I guess part of growing (both as a person and a writer) is recognizing the stories that you need to tell. I know changing genres and age groups affects readership, but I firmly believe you can't force a story. If I were to continue writing MG because readers wanted it, the writing wouldn't be as good because it's not where my heart is at the moment. That's not to say I'll never write another MG. All of this has proven we can't predict what ideas will come and when.
So, to those of you who are scared of following that new idea because it's out of your comfort genre or age level, I say go for it. Why not try it and see what happens? At the very worst, you can chalk it up to writing for experience, which is never a bad thing.
*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.