What’s your niche? That appears to be the number one question for bloggers and writers in general.
It seems there is a simple formula to online writing that consists of finding your niche, identifying your audience, and then offering and promoting your writing to that group.
Seems pretty simple, yes?
FINDING A NICHE
Not so easy for a writer who loves to write – about everything. My mission this year is to narrow down my writing into a niche and focus on that. That means no more silly stories about toilets and toilet paper.
I’ve narrowed it down to my favourite subject – the Goddesses, and family. And creativity. And nature. Oh, and I just had to tell you Why I Love a Sunburnt Country.
My writing career started as a cadet journalist, straight out of school. Each newspaper I worked for had its own style and a specific job for me. Sometimes I was the police roundsman (should that be roundsperson?), sometimes I covered court hearings (not often, thank goodness, as I found it boring).
I remember clearly when I lost my love of reporting, but not of writing.
A 21-year-old girl, celebrating her birthday and hen’s night, had a fatal asthma attack, while I was working for a suburban newspaper as the police rounds man/person.
My editor told me to call her parents and ask them how they felt. How the hell did he think they felt? I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It seemed so cruel and unnecessary and I flatly refused.
As I was also often writing his editorials for him, this editor let me off the hook. But it changed the way I felt about journalism. It no longer felt like the noble and brave thing portrayed by Lois Lane. It felt dirty and petty.
FINDING A NEW LOVE
I left that paper shortly afterwards to work part-time for a city daily. Then I found a new love when I became pregnant with my first son.
It wasn’t all sad, though. I once drove a police car, with lights flashing and siren blaring. I was doing a series on the night shift and the policeman I was with pulled over a drunk driver who was swerving. The driver managed to pull over on a busy bridge with no shoulder.
He couldn’t get behind the wheel of his car again while under the influence and the car had to be moved before causing peak hour traffic chaos in the morning.
The policeman asked me to drive it to the other side of the long bridge. I was happy to, but the car was a manual and I could only drive automatic. So the policeman asked me to drive his car, knowing the long walk he would have to make back to me on the bridge would keep him away from his car and his charge (me) for too long.
It was really fun but would have been even better if I wasn’t terrified of accidentally crashing it. 🙂
I once went undercover and did an expose on the treatment and care of people with mental health issues who were placed in various houses throughout the community when our government decided to close down all long-term mental health facilities. That was an experience!
Often I focused on feature stories and in a few papers had my own weekly column. I’m used to writing about everything (except perhaps politics, which I find rather depressing).
When I quit journalism and focused on being a stay at home mum, with a variety of boring jobs , I took a short story course and became hooked on writing fiction as well.
FINDING A CREATIVE SOLUTION
So now, I need to work on finding a niche, according to all the advice out there. Well, actually not ALL the advice.
Jonathan Mead advocates creating your own niche in his post, Why Choosing a Niche is Pretty Dumb (and why you should create one instead).
He claims that when you stop playing other people’s games and stop competing on other people’s terms, something incredible happens.
That’s because you’re leveraging your own genius. You are living at full expression, rather than trying to express yourself in a certain set of predetermined parameters.
Jeff Goins recommends choosing a worldview, instead of a niche, in his post, Why Finding Your Niche is Just Plain Bad Advice.
Yet Melyssa Griffin illustrates the importance of finding a niche in her post, How to Choose a Focus for Your Blog (and Why It’s the Most Important Thing You’ll Do as a Blogger).
I began to realize that I could reach a lot more people if I wrote about a lot less things.
Others advocate making your story your niche.
FINDING A NICHE – WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I love that I can make you smile, bring a tear to your eye, make you curious and even, sometimes I hope, inspire you.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be motivated by a story idea, do the research, learn amazing new things, and then share this knowledge with my readers.
But I do hope to use this space as a platform for writing books I can sell in the future. Books on grandparenting. Books on creative living. Books full of fun craft projects. Fiction. Oh dear!
Will finding a niche, and sticking to it, kill my creativity?
Is it possible to gain momentum and a following by writing about anything and everything?
I’m putting it out to you, my readers, to share your thoughts about this.
Whether or not you are a blogger, your thoughts are welcome. Please tell me what you think in the comments below.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Have a gleeful week, Tamuria.