The Specialist: How a Jack-of-All-Trades Writer Niches Down
Thanks to Word Wise tips for this devotional.
A WORD FROM THE WORD
King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. (2 Chronicles 29:30, NLT)
A WORD FOR WRITERS
A specialist focuses on writing in a particular niche or two, either in an industry or in a writing genre.
A generalist, on the other hand, writes on multiple topics and in several genres.
One week, the generalist is writing a series of articles on sailing regattas. The next week, the generalist is writing a newsletter for an orthodontist’s office.
While a generalist is rarely bored, she also never becomes proficient in one genre or topic – and she rarely builds a platform.
“Today’s successful writers focus their writing in just one or two areas,” says “America’s copywriter,” Bob Bly, in How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit.
Bob earned a degree in chemical engineering and after graduation took a technical writing job at Westinghouse Electric – a good fit that led him into freelance copywriting for tech firms. As more writers entered the field, he specialized further in a particular content writing niche: direct mail that sold subscriptions to technical newsletters.
Plenty of freelance writers start out as generalists simply to gain experience and accumulate clips. Yet few jack-of-all-trades writers can survive as a generalist today beyond the beginnings of a writing career. There’s simply too much information to master about multiple topics and genres.
How can you move from generalist to specialist? If you’re struggling, then take a cue from the Old Testament’s Asaph.
Asaph was a worship leader. He headed up the guild of temple musicians during the reigns of David and Solomon and performed at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 5:12). Because of that, you don’t see Asaph’s named attached to the Old Testament’s books of history or prophecy. Instead, he specialized: Asaph wrote worship music. Twelve Psalms bear his name.
Asaph used his existing skills to identify his speciality. That’s a great place to start.
A WISE WORD
Use your existing skills to identify a writing speciality.
A WORD TO PRAY
Thank you for the variety of topics and skills available to me as a writer. I want to be a good steward of the gifts you’ve given me. Show me what subjects and genres to pursue further as I specialize.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.