You may or may not have heard that in order to “make it big” in blogging, you must define yourself in one particular niche. That is, your content should be focused on one major category or variety of sub-categories that more or less all relate to a single topic of interest.
Does this mean that if you don’t have a niche for your blog then you’re doomed to fail? I think not! In fact, it seems like someone needs to stand up and shout from the rooftops that niche-blogging is not the greatest advent since sliced bread. Why must we look down on those of us who are multi-talented, or multi-focused or those who have more than one hobby?
Well, it all comes down to a simple question that was asked repeatedly during our early years: What do you want to be when you grow up? You see, socialization teaches us to see our place in the world as consisting of one major life goal and many other less important sub-goals. According to this worldview, we are meant to discover our abilities in one particular category and refine ourselves in the skills required to effectively operate in that category until the day we retire.
While it is true that American culture is driven heavily on taking pride in work and even going so far as to define oneself by work, there seems to be something lacking if all we were meant to do with our lives was focus on just one major task. Maybe you love accounting or maybe you’re a great sculptor or maybe you can write like a champ, but does this mean that the only value you bring to the professional world is reliant upon your proficiency in this area?
Looking back in history, we can cite numerous examples of individuals with a multitude of interests. We call these people “polymaths” which simply means “a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.” To name a few examples:
- Aristotle took interest in physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology.
- Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, geologist, physicist, architect, philosopher and humanist.
- Benjamin Franklin was known as an author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist and diplomat.
- Thomas Jefferson was not only a founding father and president of the United States, but also a mathematician, surveyor, architect, paleontologist, prosodist (what the heck is that?), lawyer, philosopher, farmer, fiddler and inventor.
- Adam Smith (author of The Wealth of Nations, one of the first books on economic theory) in addition to being a economist, was also a noted jurist, psychologist, historian, theologian and literary critic.
- Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) was a novelist, poet, travel writer, philosopher, occultist, botanist, literary critic, intellectual historian and a screenwriter for television and film.
The list goes on and on and if you’re really interested in this subject, just do a Google search on “polymath” and see what you find. Nevertheless, I think the point is well made that throughout history there have been numerous individuals who have taken an interest in more than just one subject.
What this means for the modern blogger is that if you find yourself thinking that your blog of many topics is pointless and unprofessional and you feel forced to pigeonhole yourself into a niche that is probably not your only passion, do not fret. Do yourself a favor and study the best and brightest polymaths of old, who were prime examples that it is not only okay to have many interests, but it is beneficial.
Being well-read and well-rounded is something that can help you in so many ways and as long as you can relate each and every topic of interest to a general audience who is genuinely interested in learning, then your blog will do just fine.
Finally, if you’re still not convinced, just remember, you’ll never again run out of topics to blog about!