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Embracing My Multipotentiality


Image by Lora Seis at Unsplash

I’ve long known I’m a student at heart. I love learning new things. My LinkedIn profile is all over the place. I was a software developer, so I know lots of techies. Some served or worked with me, some I know through Guy, my partner, who remained a techie. Then, I was an academic researcher in psychology, so I know some people who are now university professors or psychologists. Then, I became a writer, so I met a bunch of people in the publishing and filmmaking industry, randomly. LinkedIn doesn’t know what to do with me.


For a while, I thought I had found my niche. Being a writer means I can write about all kinds of things. Writing about postpartum depression in Canada gives me an opportunity to learn about postpartum depression and Canada. Writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict allows me to learn about the conflict, real estate laws in Israel, and all sorts of other things. You get the idea.


But the other day, I realised that even within authors, there are specialist authors and generalist authors. Specialist authors love to write extra stories in the same world, or a story about their characters thirty years later, or what have you. Brandon Sanderson is my favourite specialist author. He invented a whole universe, and he writes within that universe. Now, that universe is vast, of course, as is his imagination. But if you look at the books, many are within a particular series or world. And that’s fine, that’s amazing, readers love that.


I wondered what that would look like for me. I’m now waiting for notes from my editor on Heritage. If I were a specialist author like Brandon, I would spend this time writing backstories, an expansion story with one of the side characters, or perhaps another story that talks about the Israeli-Arab and Jewish relationship in Israel. I could even branch out and write music with the characters of Heritage in mind. That would have been great. I’m told that readers love that (do you?). And I’m not saying I won’t ever do that. 


BUT.


I have another project in my head. It’s about restorative justice, and social responsibility, and race and class in the UK. It’s not even a story yet. It's more like a premise. But I want to write that. I want to dive into the world of restorative justice, understand what that looks like, perhaps imagine a system that actually works. And I want to write it with people already becoming real in my head. And I get much more excited about that than about anything else.


I recently watched again an excellent TED talk about multipotentiality. I’m totally that. I did the quiz. Not only am I a multipotentialite, I’m a simultaneous multipotentialite. That explains the several projects at once, having five or six books on the go, and being interested in everything from marine biology to child development to restorative justice. I’m slowly figuring out what that means for me and how to work with it. For now, I’m going with my gut and researching new things. Because if I’m not making money, at least I will have fun.

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