By: Marilyn L. Davis
“You have the ability to shine and make a mark in some field. Your job is to find your niche, excel and build a lasting legacy.”
Have You Found Your Niche?
Raw material, including words, become ours with practice. Not a reproduction of another, but a new reflection and perspective of the individual writer. So, what choices do we have for our words as a writer? The current estimate of words in the English language is 1,013,913 as of January 1, 2012, cited by Global Language Monitor, and with an estimated 14.7 new words created daily.
Therefore, I am not surprised that we all write differently even about the same subject or idea.
That is what amazes me about language. We clearly do not use all of the thousands of words available to us, yet, a good writer can take those same common words and make them interesting, new and exciting. So, what makes our use of the same words distinct and unique for each of us?
For one thing, we write about our interests and often, those topics have a language that is individual to that subject. I may like flowers and can describe certain things about a tulip. I can even use this precise flower and correlate it to recovery
; a subject that I write about often.
However, my reference for tulips is about their tenacity and how that relates to recovery. Someone else might associate tulips and windmills and write a poem. But an authentic tulip aficionado would know:
- Commercial cultivation of the flower began in early Persia somewhere in the 10th century.
- The word tulip, in its English forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French: tulipe and tulipan.
- Growing tulips from offsets requires a year of growth.
- The Netherlands claims 1594 as the official date of the tulip flowering.
- Between 1634 and 1637, tulips were so popular, they became a form of currency in Europe.
I can find information about the tulip and include it in this article to make a point. Although it is accurate, it is not authentic for me. It does not represent the language, cadence, tone or subjects that interest me. More importantly, writers have to use words effectively and authentically to convey their voice and strengthen articles. It is this combination of subject, tone and authenticity in our choice of words that contributes to our niche writing
Writing takes time, energy and effort to be worthwhile. It takes reading to learn how to write effectively. It takes learning grammar, syntax, tenses, and all those things most of us have forgotten from high school English.
- Then it takes passion or enthusiasm and infatuation for the subject
- Then it takes learning more about our subject and researching
- Then it takes reading other opinions on the subject – pro and con
- Then it takes tentative articles
- Then it takes making mistakes
- Then it takes improving our craft
For some writers, it’s the adage of “practice makes perfect” or a desire to remain true to their voice, topic, and style. When we isolate our niche and get better at the writing and more knowledgeable and interesting with the subject; we attract readers.
Niche – Typecasting or Excelling at the Topic?
Some people believe that a niche will stereotype them. “Oh, another Marilyn Davis article about writing – read that already.” It is our job as a writer to make the same subject just as interesting this time as it was the last time we wrote about that topic. We can do this as a writer because we are approaching the same subject but from a different perspective or angle this time. When we write from a new viewpoint or add a twist, our readers can then say, “Oh, another Marilyn Davis article about writing, but with a different point of view.”
I write about addiction and recovery, life lessons, and writing. I find that those three topics give me infinite room to explore feelings, thoughts, perceptions and beliefs. Some would say those three are limited. I would say they are expansive and allow me to do what I feel compelled to do, write. Writing in those niches allows me to:
• Validate thoughts and feelings
• Challenge the status quo
• Take a proactive or reactive position
• Reference life lessons
• Reflect on the past, the future, the problem and the solution
• Improve people’s lives
• Simplify the writing process
• Define and refine the art of the article
When You Find Your Niche
I know that feeling when you realize that you have crossed all the T’s, or the subject and verb agree, and the punctuation is correct. Better still, there are times that the writing seems to flow effortlessly, and you finish the piece and smile. Relish that moment. It can be eye-opening as well as satisfying. You may just be discovering your
niche. “He excels best in his niche – originality loses its authenticity in one’s efforts to obtain originality.” ~Criss Jami
Taking those words to heart, I’ll also make a personal commitment
to the serious tulip writers. I will never again encroach on your niche.