Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed . ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finding your niche

In the movie, Marley and Me, John Grogan languishes at the obit desk of a big city newspaper, watching his buddy get the opportunities to write the kind of stuff he wants to write. When his editor needs someone to write a column, Grogan reluctantly agrees to fill in temporarily. His “temporary” column is a big hit. But it took a stint as a bigger-city reporter for him to realize his niche was really column writing.
What is your niche? How do you find it?
Webster’s online dictionary defines niche as “a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person is best fitted.”
How can you determine the best fit for your writing?
Simple: examine your passion, your talent, and your experience.
First, what are you passionate about? What message do you want to get out through your writing? Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or both, the driving force of your piece is the message. But remember to show, don’t tell—and don’t preach! Remember how Jesus used parables. Go thou and do likewise.
Second, where do your talents lie? Identify what kind of writing you do best—and for what audience. I have a friend who writes excellent medical articles for a veterans’ newsletter. She has the ability to discern what’s important, trim the excess, and write difficult-to-understand material in a way anyone can understand. Another writes historical fiction, taking dry historical facts and giving them life and breath. Still another writes delightful children’s stories.
Finally, what are your experiences? What do you know and understand well? What do you love to do? Interview people? Research? Teach? Make people laugh? If you enjoy people, then you’ll find interviewing individuals and writing their stories a natural fit. If you love the hunt and dig for more information, then writing informational pieces would serve well. And don’t rule out fiction.
Some writers instinctively know what their niche is. Others, like Grogan, stumble upon it and grow into it. Identifying your passion, your talent, and your experience will help you find your niche.
NOTE: I scored a double ace this month: This article appeared in the November issues of Christian Communicator and Wordsmith, the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild newsletter. 

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