Specializing

Everybody seems to think I need to settle down. Ernie says every blog needs a theme. I think what he means is every successful  blog needs a theme, and by successful I think he means one that someone besides the writer is reading. Because for me, right now, success at blogging is sitting at my keyboard most days and banging out something I’m not completely embarrassed to post. I’m hoping a theme will emerge but for now am keeping it open for random inspiration.

But inspiriation—even the random kind—is hard to come by. Why do Rachel and John have words spilling out of their fingers, thoughts springing from their heads, and I sit for hours, my fingers hovering awkwardly above the keyboard, a back strike for every keystroke, confident only when I hit the delete button.

I thought about blogging about politics. It’s an election year, after all, and I’ve been a political junkie since I was seven. But John says a politics blog is a good way to lose friends and after the recent touchiness at David’s birthday dinner I see his point. But John agrees with Ernie: eventually, my blog needs to be about something.

And then there’s Penelope Trunk: she says I need to specialize or I’ll never get a job. She also says my life will become endlessly boring. Although her blog post is titled “5 Reasons you should specialize right now,” she lists six, like specialization is such a no-brainer the arguments in favor just jump onto the page before she can rein them in.

Penelope says most people don’t specialize because they’re scared and that makes sense to me. I specialized in death penalty trials for 11 years and it almost killed me; then I specialized in an analyzing cruise stocks and I got laid off because my sector comprised a single report—um, hello, specialty—so was eliminated when the company downsized. So yeah, I guess I am scared to specialize.

Actually, when I first began to think about a blog—about the time I realized I was probably losing my job—I was going to blog about being 50 and looking for work. But then I thought, what if I find a job really fast, what would I write about then–a concern quickly supplanted by, what if I never find a job and the blog just turns depressing?

My friend R whom I worked with before the layoffs is with a new company that wants her to report on her old beat—they like the fact she’s a specialist but what she really wants to be is a generalist.

So, what is it: Do I need to specialize? If so, do I get a new specialty or go back to one of the old ones? And if I go back, am I going backwards? And what about not specializing—will anyone read my blog or hire me if I just write about subjects or embark on projects that interest me?

These are questions I need to explore.

4 thoughts on “Specializing

  1. Keep in mind Graham that while I am banging away at the keys what has gotten the most hits on my blog that I started in 2004 is when I had a TCA peel and posted photos of my peeling face over the week’s aftermath.

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