How Did I Discover My Writing Niche ?
NICHE. It’s a small yet complicated word for those who are new to the field of writing.
When I started blogging way back in 2017, I wasn’t sure what to write about. My exposure to writing till then had been project documentation at work. That’s it. But again, writing had not been a totally alien concept for me. My interest in writing had always been there. Always there.
It took me a B-Tech degree in Information Technology and 5 years of corporate life experience to finally realise what I enjoy (and prefer) to do most is WRITING. But what could I write about? Who would be interested in reading what I write? And the million dollar question was ‘What is my niche?’
And this is how I found it :
1. Word prompts :
I wanted to write and publish. For that I launched my WordPress blog. It was easy and took only a few minutes. However my dilemma remained. What should I write about?
If you press the ‘Reader’ tab and type ‘word prompts’ in the search bar, then WordPress offers you a couple of websites that post daily prompts. You can write an article, story or compose a poem based on the prompt and link back to the website.
I believe these prompts are a blessing for beginners like me. For they not only gave me a topic to write about, but also stretched my writing muscles. That’s because there is a huge difference between ‘I want to write’ and ‘I am writing.’ What’s more, it also gave me an opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers and even gain some followers within a week. A pretty good start.
But, I was still far away from finding my niche.
2. Book reviews :
Next I tried my hand at writing reviews about the books I have read. I have grown up with books. We have been together since… I can’t even remember since when. So writing about books came naturally to me. Moreover, participating in the daily prompts improved my flair for writing. It gave me the courage to at least think about topics apart from the prompt scenario.
So there I was blogging about books. This made me wonder if writing about books was what I was searching for.
3. Storytelling :
Reading books, especially fiction, does one thing to you. It makes you an absolute daydreamer. Call this an escapist mentality, but my knack for daydreaming has often helped me in maintaining my sanity. Within the first few months of starting my blog, I decided to invest this power to dream with eyes open into STORYTELLING.
In no time, I sensed that writing stories gives me a strange sense of freedom. Writing stories gave me sheer joy of creation.
After writing a few short stories, I was sure that even if I couldn’t figure out anything else, storytelling is something that I would always love to associate myself with.
4. Parenting :
I never thought I could write on parenting. Neither when I was expecting my baby, nor right after giving birth. Moreover, motherhood is a 24×7 job which made me wonder if I would be able to sit with the laptop again in the first place.
I have always considered writing similar to physical exercise. The more you do, the better you become. Skip exercise for one day, the next day you will find yourself needing to put in double effort while working out. Writing regularly keeps you away from the dreaded writer’s block. And I was away from the writing desk for more than a month after my baby was born in 2019.
Just to see if I had it in me anymore, I thought to share my experience with pregnancy and motherhood. That’s when I contributed my first guest post ever on gestational diabetes for a parenting website. To my utter surprise, they even published it.
This boosted my confidence to write a few more posts on PARENTING and fall in love with this niche forever. All I can say, ‘Cheers to motherhood!’
5. Travel :
Writing on travel was one of the low hanging fruits in my blogging tree. But I ignored it. I actually love to just sit with a book and a hot cup of tea along with crispy potato wafers. Then why on earth should I even think about travel blogging and that too amidst a pandemic?
But what I didn’t see was despite being an introvert and a homesick person, I have lived my life in a suitcase. A Bachelor’s degree in West Bengal, work life in Odisha and Bangalore (post marriage), shifting to Singapore; I have not settled in a single place for long for many years. Besides, I am married to someone whose dream it is to travel around the world.
So it was only a matter of time before I incorporated TRAVEL into my writing. How I manage to sail on content related to travel in this pandemic and a post-pandemic world (hopefully) is something that I am eager to find out.
6. Lifestyle :
When you are into writing, you will constantly want to explore and get discovered. Recently, I have launched a new WordPress blog and was in the same explore-and-get-discovered spree. This hunt landed me on Weekend Coffee Share. It’s basically a link that’s activated by the host (of this virtual blog party) every weekend for bloggers to share posts and network.
While journaling my every week’s activity for contributing to the link, I had to look back towards the whole week and introspect. This exercise felt like looking in a mirror. I began sharing what I had done the entire week or rather what I hadn’t done or wished I had done, news that rocked the nation, how we celebrated birthdays in pandemic, my life as a mother, a wife; almost everything got a place in that weekly share.
Gradually, I could see many topics hidden in those weekend coffee share posts. They had the potential to develop into full-fledged lifestyle blog posts.Which brought me towards my ultimate niche, LIFESTYLE.
As you can see I took 3 years to figure out what my niche or should I say niches are. Maybe, in the course of time, I will discover my passion towards a few more. Who knows? But nothing happens overnight. It takes time, patience and lessons learnt from a lot of mistakes to realise what you really enjoy.
If you are new in the writing field and don’t know what you should write about, then from my personal experience, I would like to suggest you, ‘Don’t overthink’. Just start writing. Create a blog, write a weekly journal ( or even better daily journal). Soon you will get a clear vision where your writing is headed.
What are the topics that emerge from your journal frequently? Analyze those and you will come up with new ideas. It’s okay if nobody follows your blog, nobody likes your posts in the beginning. Your job as a writer is to write, read a book/article daily, give yourself time, improve your craft, be consistent and discover your passion (or niche in this case) .
Having said that, it’s not mandatory that you have to have a niche. I don’t doubt your versatility. But a niche channelizes your creative energy in a proper direction.
So which one would you like to opt for? Directionless writing? Or focused writing?
Written by Moumita De Sarkar. Moumita writes full-time in her blog and publishes articles on LinkedIn. Her writing genres are mainly Parenting and Lifestyle. She also has a keen interest in writing stories. You can also connect with Moumita on her Instagram.