I just finished a 40-page manuscript about wine for a freelance writing client. I don't even like wine, let alone drink it. It was an excruciating assignment, one that I shouldn't have taken. I didn't, and still don't, have any remote interest in writing about wine, or about food and drink for that matter. I cross my fingers that I don't have to do any revisions or additions to this manuscript. Since food and drink isn't one of niches, I should have turned down the assignment and asked for another. It was the first assignment for this client, and I didn't want to appear picky. But, considering the stress and pain I went through to complete this assignment, appearing picky would have been a far less worse consequence.
This experience highlights the importance of niches, or in specializing on a few select topics, as a freelance writer. It may seem more fun to try all kinds of topics, but freelancing is only easier if you narrow yourself of a few topics. Developing expertise makes you more marketable, and makes writing about those topics easier. It also makes it easier to land gigs involving those topics. One of my niches is technology, and I've already nabbed two new clients this month writing about it. Sounds good to me.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you never expand yourself from what you already know and dive into new topics. I didn't know a whole lot about technology going into freelancing. It's just where my cards fell. I would still say that many aspects of technology still elude me, like digital cameras, iPhone apps, and tablets, just to name a few. Nonetheless, I'm pretty good at covering the convergence of technology and business.
I would recommend coming up with a few niches over being a generalist. Freelancing gets easier in the long run as you do so, as in time you rely more and more on your brain instead of doing tons of preliminary research to find the basic information you need to get started. Essentially, you get to do more writing. And that's worth toasting a glass of wine to.