If there’s one must I’ve learned inside the freelance writer’s world it’s that the surest way to success is to pick a niche. You can generally center around a broad niche when collecting writing projects, but if you in any way want to have a popular blog or high traffic website the best thing to do is narrow that focus. Pick a category and a sub-topic and then take it one step further. For example –
If you select Pets as your main category don’t stop there. Be more specific and narrow in a tighter subject, say by making Cats your topic. Then, squeeze your focus just a little bit more by choosing to write an in-depth site about Cat Behaviors: the Good, the Bad, and the Hairy. (I actually kind of like that.) Seems simple, right?
Unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have a lot of interests or is seriously all about that one thing (we all have that friend) then you’re probably going to run into a roadblock picking a niche for one very simple reason: which one do you choose?
Using the breakdown described above invites practically limitless options into your lap to decide from. Why, there’s four different blogs I can think of alone just from picking cats as my topic. What if I picked dogs? Horses?
And animals and pets doesn’t even begin to cover my interests. I’ve been an outdoor lover my entire life. I hiked 600 miles on the Appalachian Trail the summer of 2013. I could focus in on gear and the newest gadgets for camping and hiking. Or I could start a nature blog. I’m also an artist and love animation (and have an degree in kinetic imaging to boot). I could build a website focused around animating how-tos and which programs to use. Or start blogging about the latest animated movies, tv series, and shorts.
Maybe I like too many things. Maybe my problem is that I want to be good and knowledgeable in multiple subjects.
Well, knowing everything isn’t what makes you good at anything. In fact, it’s actually true that those who get really good at one particular craft or skill will be exceedingly better than another who tries to juggle four or five different skills. Just writing this makes me want to cut down on the services I’m trying to offer as a writer and designer.
I guess I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my career yet. Being in my 20’s I’m part of the generation that has an information overload. There’s so much knowledge accessible to us at all times. We’re encouraged to try new things, do new things, even be new things. But it feels like everything is just getting recycled, over and over again. Finding that one, unique never-been-done-before idea is not as easy as it once was.
Use the Internet as your example. Think of the most random, crazy or far-out idea you can imagine. Now Google it. I bet it’s been thought of before (and if it hasn’t comment to let me know!).
So, how do you pick just one category or topic when, if like me, you love learning and sharing ideas about so many different things? Or you’re just not sure which idea is going to give you the best endlessly new information to write about day in and day out. No one wants to wake up bored one day, hating a project they’ve already invested so much energy in.
The good news is moving on to something new is always an option. You just start over.
I’ve really been thinking a lot about the future of Lady Jenji Writing & Design and what it is I’m trying to share with the world and all I can say is it’s been hard. Is the answer to start a second blog, a more focused blog, that’ll get me the traffic and following I want to achieve? Right now I simply don’t have the time to upkeep more than one blog, and having a website for my freelance career is number one, even if my posts are scatterbrained.
Hopefully sometime soon I’ll find the time to start a second, more narrowly focused blog. It’ll give me the chance to become a “master” of something. I’d actually really like to pursue a Money-Making-Website, which I discovered and blogged about last summer. Perhaps this sort of passive writing income is exactly what I need to launch my freelance career.
If you’re having trouble picking a niche, for whatever reasons, I sympathize with you. With a little work and dedication I’ve no doubt we’ll all find the callings that we were meant to pursue.
Until next time –
Yours for Happy Writing,