Ungulates do not want to stand out from the crowd. They seek the protection of a herd.
Equally, certain species of fish do not want to stand out from the crowd. They seek the protection of a school.
Large groups of animals can alert one another to danger.
But what is the danger when you’re a writer or artist? The danger is being mediocre.
If your a writer or an artist, you need a niche. You need to stand out from the crowd.
What is a niche? Something that provides all the requirements you need to thrive. A niche in the wild is the way an organism utilizes its habitat. Endangered creatures usually have a very narrow niche, like the Kirkland’s warbler, a little song bird that only nests in concentrations of jack pine.
Of course you can be a generalist and still have a niche – like crows. I like crows because they are very intelligent birds who have made their living off of humans – mainly our trash. Or funky road kill. But even many song birds eat funky road kill, but I diverge…
But if you are a generalist you will have to study many forms and techniques, as opposed to a specialist who narrows their interest. So which is best?
I bring all of this to your attention because a recent post by Kelly Erickson of Maximum Customer Experience has got me thinking about all of this. Read her post about the business that tries to do too much. Very good post, indeed. Kelly always has good insight into the nature of things and will often catch you off guard with her witty observations.
I started off my freelance career being a jack-of-all-trades. Of course I am a photographer and writer, but I dabbled in blogging for others and thought of writing grants and press releases because I had written these at a previous job.
I wondered how I was going to integrate my photography into all of this.
I have since decided to specialize in article writing for online and print magazines, with photo packages, or not. I am also building up my photo repertoire for stock photo agencies. I feel this is the best utilization of my talents.
This is how I will stand out from the crowd.
But what about you? Melissa Donovan, of Writing Forward, recently discussed her freelance success. She has found her niche, and is reveling in her freelance freedom.
What is your niche? Have you found success as a specialist or a generalist? Or are you still investigating?
Next post will be about pouring yourself into specified forms. And why you want to.
Photocredit: © Ellen Wilson