The age of the niche is over. Hopefully.

I say that with a sense of pessimism, because I know that the internet's modus operandi has, overwhelmingly, been to push ever forward towards greater profits and more streamlined ways of making money. And the "niche" is one of the most effective ways of doing just that.

Maybe I should back up a bit. What I'm talking about here in the push for narrowly-focused web content, something that I run into a lot in creative circles. The thinking goes that, in order to be successful in any sort of creative field, one must direct all creative energy towards a more and more specific audience. A photographer becomes a "pet photgrapher" which becomes an "indoor pet photographer" which becomes a "Pacific Northwest indoor pet photographer who only shoots with wide angle lenses."

That example is a little ridiculous, I know, but I think the whole thing is a little ridiculous, personally, because it really breaks stride with what makes creative work so empowering and so fun: the ability to do your own thing and to create the way you want to create. The focused niche may be good for getting clients, but if that's at the cost of your creative vision, if it turns your passion into nothing more than a way to make a quick buck, then what's the point? Why are you doing this at all, when you could easily make the same amount of money doing something that, frankly, doesn't require nearly this much work?

The niche-ification of the online creative speaks to the pressure to become a business over an artist that creatives find themselves trapped in. When we come to the realization that it's possible for us to make a living doing creative work, we end up making compromises to our own vision to make that happen. And while I could talk for days about the fact that in today's economic situation being a full-time artist is much harder than it used to be (just consider the ability of part-time writers to pay rent just 40 years ago), I won't spend more time on that than I need to because I'm not particularly well-versed in the economic side of this whole creative business.

What I am invested in is the ability for creative people to do creative things without feeling the pressure to niche down and avoid stepping outside their "brand" all in the name of business success. It's not going to kill your business to post landscape photos alongside weddings. And it'll be far better for your soul if you work on the things that you want to work on, rather than limiting yourself artificially because some influencer on Instagram told you to (who, by the way, probably makes most of their money by influencing and NOT by photography).

So relax a little. Make what you want to make. Write what you want to write. Share it how you want it to be shared. And don't worry yourself too much about making your cohesive brand, because at the end of the day, if you're making what you're truly passionate about, your professional image will work itself out. A cohesive artistic life comes from creating truly meaningful work, and creating it from the heart.

Everything else will fall in place when it needs to.