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The Specialist: How a Jack-of-All-Trades Writer Niches Down

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

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. 

The Specialist: a #devotional for writers based on 2 Chr 29:30 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #FreelanceWriting #WritingTips

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 specialty. That’s a great place to start.

A Wise Word

Use your existing skills to identify a writing specialty. 

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

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.

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