Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Diversify or Not to Diversify, That is the Question

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
William Faulkner (1897-1962)

Many so called "experts" will argue that you can only write about what you experience or know first hand. However, with a wealth of research tools out there, a good writer can write about almost anything.

Blogger to magazine writers to authors of books never
seem come to a consensus of which works better; focusing in one area or diversifying in many subjects. Finding the right niche can offer you a success in writing, depending on the subject matter. But opting for diversification, it will open up more gigs for you.

Which ever you decide upon, remain versatile.

If you feel uncomfortable to venture in other areas, focus in a general area but move out a little in style and spin a new thread to your topic and writing abilities.

There are several advantages to having a specialty. By developing an expertise in a particular area and you will be in demand and your rates can increase. You expertise should have adequate demand. Google certain key words to obtain an idea is the competition is fierce or not.

The downside towards writing only about what you already have experienced is boredom. There may be numerous ways to write about toilet paper but after thousand and one times, the subject becomes stale and originality begins to wane. Sometimes you may find there is no market for your niche.

On a personal level, diversification is where it is at for me, although I have certain niches I tend to cling to. Declining an assignment or project that is offered just because I have never written about before is not in my DNA. "I’m just a girl who just can say no."

However, I must be honest with the client in advance so there are no misunderstandings if the work gets rejected. In a positive manner, I will also request their opinion on how the topic should be handled. If I never took a chance away from print, I would never have learned how to use Word Press, Blogger and other web software; thus giving me a more competitive edge.

Adapt to the voice of the editor or client of what they specifically are seeking. Do not write as a liberal if the publication or website has a conservative or spiritual tone. You will soon be able to adjust to their vision.

What option will you choose; diversifying or specializing?


  1. Veronica, this is absolutely a great article to ponder about. I'm learning so much by reading from other contributors to this blog, like just from this article you added!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you Missy. We all can learn from each other here. I am amazed how much I have including some the blunders I have done.

  3. This is a good question. I think it is a great idea to start with what you know. Then, you can build on that base and add new types of knowledge over the months and years. Anyone who writes exclusively for the web quickly finds out that the ability to become an "instant expert" is a skill in high demand. This does keep things interesting!

  4. I diversified as well, out of sheer necessity; the first few jobs I took I knew quite a bit about (parenting and teaching) and I branched out from there into diabetes and self esteem, and added things like SEO, acne, identity theft and solar energy along the way. Before I knew it I was expanding into leadership and business ethics, as well as gong back to my own experience in cooking and home improvement. I've written fashion and entertainment pieces, built and maintained WordPress blogs and helped develop print and eBooks, articles, web content and email series. Along the way I've managd to teach or help a few others which I think is the greatest accomplishment!