Writers are often naturally curious and flexible, able write about doughnuts in one article and cloud computing in the next. Because of our insatiable need to continue learning on a mosaic of topics, we sometimes fall into one industry or another, because we love it just “that” much. Couple that with our recurring “oh-crap-I-still-need-to-live-in-the-real-world” realization, and we often gravitate toward industries that change frequently or hold some sort of personal interest to us.
The phrase “jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none” often applies to writers for that reason, but it doesn’t accurately describe the emotional side or the attraction we have to certain industries. For example, I had a great experience working for an internet company, so I’m making it a goal to keep up on top of trends in “search” because it’s fascinating to me and practical. It’s what we “do” every day and what every writer should pay some small bit of attention to because it affects everything from blogging, finding source material, shopping for holiday gifts online, etc. Additionally, I make it a point to keep up with entertainment industry trends–to see where the market is shifting and changing–for my fiction and project management work. Science fiction may not be that popular now, but it will probably be again. Trend watching is something all writers do naturally, in order to write both topical and factual articles that readers will want to read. In my opinion, there are two dangers to getting sucked into the trends, however, that affect our critical thinking and our ability to write to the broadest audience possible.
Simply, the “fan” trap is what happens when a writer loves an industry so much, that they lose focus.