I love being a writer. Really really. And while I have spent the last four years as a full time freelance writer, I'm exploring an amazing opportunity that would shift my career in a different (and awesome) direction.
It's different from what I've been doing, but it's something I have experience with. It really is a wonderful career opportunity, and it's the kind of thing that I've been working toward for the past four years. So depending on what happens this and next week, I could very well be headed in a new, amazing career direction, and I couldn't be happier.
So all that was a prelude to the point of this post: it's important to stretch yourself.
When I started out in freelancing, I took a wide variety of work. My first client was in the health/nutrition realm, but after that I found myself writing in the education field (which I still actively do). But I've also written how-to articles on DIY, recycling, and home improvement projects. I've written articles about mixed martial arts gear. As I gained experience and confidence, I sort of honed in on areas of clients, which led me to writing about a lot of health/nutrition/fitness (especially holistic health) and education topics. I enjoy them, and am confident enough in those areas to write more quickly than in other areas. But I have still always tried to push myself to write in areas I'm slightly less comfortable to expand my knowledge base and skills. It sort of keeps me on my toes.
I really believe that because I stepped outside of my comfort zone in some of my writing projects, I set myself up perfectly for this possible career opportunity.
When you push yourself as a writer, you show clients you can and want to take on new challenges. If you have a client that likes your writing skills and style, but you have no experience in the field, showing that you continue to stretch and push could be what convinces the client that you can, in fact, do what they need you to do in order to provide the best writing possible.
It's a good thing to have a niche. You need an area in which you're comfortable writing and can showcase your expertise. But neither should you let a niche become a rut. Staying in that niche can become a comfort zone. And if you're not willing to step out of it, you could lose out on some wonderful opportunities and relationships with great clients.
Great things can happen when you step outside your comfort zone and try something new. And it could propel your writing career in a different direction, but that direction could be just what your career needs.