by Terreece Clarke
Much ado is made about niches – where to find one, how to break into one, who has them on sale, etc. Writing experts, in making their cases for and instructing about niches, often don’t talk about when writers and niches don’t mix.
Curiosity Killed the Niche
Ravenous curiosity is one reason writers may decide to forgo having a niche. There are writers who are very passionate about one or a few subjects. They could spend hundreds of years researching and writing about them. Other writers are curious about and are able to research a wide variety of subjects and while one may love to garden, the thought of spending the next 30 years of their career writing about it makes them want to run back to a cubicle – at Enron.
Versatility Cape, er, Clause
There are both striking and subtle differences between types of writing. For example, journalism is stylistically and tonally different from magazine writing. The same holds true for business writing versus blogging and the list goes on. There will always be a core groups of writers who concentrate on one particular style. It is their blue-ribbon signature dish so to speak. While often difficult, there are writers who can cross freely between the genres with equitable skill. They are brilliant at blogging and can write the pants off of a press release and more importantly, they choose to do both.
One of the valuable reasons why niches are important is that they establish a clip foundation writers can use to get other gigs. Sometimes writers feel that having too many different types of clips will make their body of work look scattered. It’s all in the presentation.
For example, if you’re interested in a gig that calls for celebrity gossip bloggers, highlight your clips on going green and home décor with correlating blog ideas.
Which stars are sporting the latest green gear?
Which stars’ home is the best decorated, has the cutest nursery or is being renovated?
(Jodee just wrote a great post on choosing clips.)
A lot of writers think that niches are among the must haves – computer, Internet connection, and niche. Not so. Before you figure out which one is right for you, figure out if having one is the right move or if the niche you currently have is working for you. Don’t feel obliged to write on a subject just because you happen to know a lot about it. Freelance writers need to remember there is passion in what we do and being freelance means being “free” to control your career.
What do you think FWJ community? Are niches a must do or a do if you like? What’s your niche?