Tove Cecile Fasting (aka Mamma Mia) has a nice post at BlogHer about calling herself a writer. When people ask me what I do, I generally stammer and hem and haw before answering something articulate, like, "things." It's not that I don't consider myself a writer; I do. It's just that there's so much more. Some people really are writer writers. That's what they excel at and it's all they do. There are many ways to be a writer, not just writing books or articles. There's business writing and technical writing and grant writing. There's copywriting and legal writing. There's poetry. I completed an MFA in creative writing, published a book about offbeat places I like in NYC, wrote articles for local newspapers and magazines, and was a grant writer. Plus there's all the blogging. I'm a writer. I enjoy writing, and strive to become a better, more literary writer.
Some people are quantitative and that's what they excel at. They develop models, run regressions, and analyze data. They run experiments and observe the results. They operate. I conducted financial analysis to provide grants and loans to community organizations, analyzed data (and wrote reports) on various issues in community development, and teach classes on budgeting. My favorite days at work are the ones in which I am buried in a spreadsheet, looking for trends. I'm a quantitative thinker. I like numbers and strive to become better at quantitative analysis.
My little brain likes both. I would not claim that I am brilliant at either, but I'm interested in writing and quantitative work, and competent at both. (Although to toot my own horn for a moment, I recently went to an interview in which I was told that it is a rare ability to do well in both quantitative analysis and writing.) If I focus too much on one or the other, Maurice (the hamster who runs on the wheel that supplies power to my brain) throws a tizzy fit and brain meltdowns occur. Maurice likes variety. He best thrives when I offer him a plethora of topics to ponder. I noticed that the file cabinets that store information in my head are also better maintained by Maurice when he need not use only one or two exclusively. He's an inquisitive little furball, that Maurice.
I think, though, that the lack of specialization also hurts me. I'll never be a great writer and I'll never be an analytical master. I suppose that is true for most people, so what's the point? None, really. I'm just ruminating.