By: Marilyn L. Davis
Focus on Your Niche – Your Brain Will Do the Rest
“Every man has a specific skill, whether it is discovered or not, that more readily and naturally comes to him than it would to another, and his own should be sought and polished. He excels best in his niche.” ――
Many writers believe that a niche will pigeonhole them and force them to stay inside the box with their writing. I think the opposite is true. Why? Because writing in a niche is not limiting, it forces you to focus. And when you’re focused, your brain does its job and will often take you to tangential or divergent aspects of your niche that you hadn’t thought of before. It’s accelerated or expanded activity.
Try not to dismiss those seemingly obscure, out-of-the-box, or vague ideas without taking the time to explore them.
Those random ideas about your chosen topic may attract a new audience or customers. Whether you develop the idea that day or later, save these unexpected references and see what you can write.
Idea One Plus Idea Two Equals…
Too many writers get mired down in their niche writing because they give up on creativity. Perhaps you think that reads harsh. Please remember that I see a lot of submissions, and sometimes I’ve sent one back and asked the writer to embellish on the thought because they stated that idea last year, the year before, and oh, two years ago as well without anything new.
When those writers took their original idea, added idea number two, and thoroughly explored the second, they expanded their writing and the reader’s knowledge without being boring.
Then we had a stellar post.
Where is Your Focus?
You might be surprised what you can add to your subject if you do some creative mind-expanding exercises.
Creativity occurs in our brain. It’s a right-brain function, and all of us use creativity when we solve problems using insight rather than logic, for instance. Our brains absorb pieces of information both from conscious attention to finding solutions, as well as random bits we encounter in our daily lives. Then the brain does a wonderful thing – it makes connections for us.
Expand on Those Niche Connections
If we allow our brains to work for us, we have to give them free rein to bring the knowledge to our consciousness. One way to use your brain to expand on your topic is mind mapping.
If you’re unfamiliar with mind mapping, it’s a graphical representation of an idea or concept. You can analyze and generate new ideas from your core concept with one. It allows the brain to expand and give you stored information about your topic.
Back to Zinsser
Many of us have studied William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. As a non-fiction writer and journalist, Zinsser advised us to think broadly about any writing topic. Don’t think Audubon’ has to be strictly about nature or an article for ‘car and driver’ strictly about cars. Push the boundaries of the subject and see where it takes you – then pare it down in several revisions. Bring some part of your own life to it. It is not your version of the story until you write it. Overriding themes in the book are brevity and humanity. So, how would that look in a mind map?
Create Your Mind Map and Focus
You start by writing down your niche topic in the center of the page. Now start writing all the words that you associate with that subject. Essentially, you’ll use your mind map to brainstorm your topic. It’s an excellent strategy for writers because:
- Mind mapping helps you accelerate your focus. With your keyword in the center of the page, it’s always the main focus and enables you to stay on target.
- It’s an excellent way to structure your thoughts. From the seemingly random and complex associations, you can bring order to the chaos in your post.
- Mind mapping is an excellent overview of your niche topic. You see the bigger picture with the connections and related associations.
Mental pictures form, and it alerts your brain to create descriptions of those associations.
Corral those Niche Connections
According to Dr. Hyerle, “Brain-based research supports the notion that if there is no emotional or logical connection between new information and that which has already been stored, the new information will be discarded.”
I know some of you wonder what you’re going to do with all these random words if you can’t logically associate the connection. Some seem too unrelated to create a post. While that may be logically true, what about the creative part of writing that allows you to connect seemingly unrelated aspects and entertain or educate your readers? It’s often those tangential ideas that create a new perspective in your niche.
As you view your mind-map, think about:
- What is the relationship between your niche topic and any associated words?
- What do you know about your niche topic, and what related words can you expand on to create another post?
- Does your niche have inherent problems? In this case, I’m writing about niche writing, so one of the troublesome aspects is creating new and exciting information about a much-written topic.
To help you corral those random thoughts, use arrows, color-code your related ideas, or simply draw a line from one point to another. This visual aid will help you in the planning stages of a new post in your niche.
Ready, Set, Write
You started by focusing on your niche idea, expanded on it, and now it’s time to write a cohesive post. When you concentrated on your key concepts and found the connections between them, you expanded your knowledge and can now write a new take on your niche topics.
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
She is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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