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
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 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 specialty. That’s a great place to start.
Use your existing skills to identify a writing specialty.
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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