I've said it before and I'll say it again: sometimes freelance life is slow – painfully slow. Other times, work comes in consistently and I'm so grateful for those times. As Anne Ditmeyer mentioned in her interview on Wednesday, there are ups and there are downs. Admittedly, I'm still trying figure out how to manage those undulations gracefully.
One thing that makes freelance work enjoyable for me is variety. I try to write about many different topics for various outlets as often as possible. Some of the pieces I write offer a byline, while other assignments are written fairly anonymously and are only seen by a targeted demographic.
I realize that this probably doesn't come as a surprise to those of you who have been reading along over the last few years. I mean, the blog name People + Places + Things doesn't exactly scream "niche blog." The name came about because I didn't want to limit what I could write about in that space.
This space is no different and over the last several weeks, I've had the added opportunity of writing about a variety of different things – including a favorite local hike, a new brewery coming to town and ways to fight stress this holiday season – for very diverse audiences.
So what's the problem?
Well, with the rise of "personal branding," it seems as though we're constantly being encouraged to specialize. We're expected to whittle our professional title and niche down to 160 characters or less. While I'm a fan of brevity and knowing how to communicate what it is that I do for a living, this scramble for an elevator pitch can be quite limiting.
I feel as though building and maintaining a varied writing portfolio has made me better at the craft. I still have so (very, very) much to learn and, to be honest, I never want to stop growing and developing as a writer. Writing for different editors, publications and audiences helps me be more adaptable and (hopefully) more employable. Plus, it's kind of fun.
"But you're not an expert! You should always try to position yourself as an expert," the personal branding experts will say.
It's true. I'm not an expert. My "personal brand" may not allow me to profess such things and I'm okay with that. Here's why: I'd rather write about what interests me and I have very diverse interests. I love to travel and experiment in the kitchen, artists and creatives are my jam, people who build interesting business will always have my attention, I'm a scaredy pants who digs adventures and learning how to be the woman I want to be makes me happy.
At the moment, I don't feel the need to fill a specialized niche or drill down my work to fit a specific category. It seems as though the limits of specialization are greater than the possibilities.
Elevator pitch be damned, my friends – I think I like my way better.
I'm curious: how do you define yourself professionally? Do you specialize in certain areas or do you dabble in many? I'd love to hear your take on this!