In the last few months I have had some success writing for parenting publications. When I first embarked on my journalism career I was not yet a parent, but it was on the horizon, and writing while the kids were at home was certainly in my plan. Specialising in parenting however was not. Of course, the advice write what you know abounds, and so I have found myself putting parenting to the front of my biography.
I do know parenting. I am a mother – I live it every day. Since becoming a freelance writer my brain has become an ideas generator for pitches, experiments, philosophies; all in the name of an article or blog post. And so I now find myself examining every little thing I do, to see if it is worthy of revealing to the public.
It is quite exhausting.
We are taught to specialise for the advantage it brings to our writing. It can be easier to be an expert in a segment than to do the extensive research required in a generalist approach. Publications will approach you for article commissions. Write in a field you already know something about so you don’t have to start from scratch.
But there are the disadvantages in specialising. You live that category. Even when you are ‘off’ you are still thinking about it, finding stories about it in the minutiae of life. When you specialise in something as personal as your own parenting, it is an exercise in psychoanalysis.