Right now I’m reading “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz. I’m one chapter in and bogging down already. Where I’m bogging down is area of expertise.
Maybe some people get to be my age with one area of expertise. I can’t figure that out; with so many interesting things to do and study in the world, how could you stick to just one? Here are some of mine:
Animals; herbs and herbal medicine; textiles, including historical techniques; manuscript illumination, including how to make parchment; pottery; printmaking; folklore and myth; paper; language and words; magic, as in fantasy and witchcraft.
You see what my problem is here – how am I going to choose one area of expertise to emphasize? Different people know me as expert in different areas. I have a list of non-fiction books to write, from a pop-up book to a series on exotic pets to one on my life as a shepherd. I have a list of fiction books, too.
I worry about a world in which one has to be an expert in some one thing. A liberal arts education has this advantage – it introduces you to many, many subjects, each of which may well have some bearing on the others. What I know about reptiles feeds into my science-fiction writing. What I know about making leather and about natural dyes and plants and animals has enriched my fantasy works. I resist being pigeonholed, because I have too many pigeons.
To quote Robert Louis Stevenson:
The world is so full of a number of things
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
I’m not sure what advice Ms Katz would have for someone like me. If I started a blog or a website to raise my profile in each of my areas of expertise, I’d be writing blog posts all day! But I can’t choose.
On the other hand, what a great problem to have. I’ll never die of boredom.