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Excuse Me, That Niche is Taken
Write What Only You Can Say
“Every man has a specific skill... He excels best in his niche - originality loses its authenticity in one's efforts to obtain originality.” ― Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile
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 common words and make them interesting.
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.
Write What's Honest for You
My references for tulips are how that particular flower relates to recovery, not specific to the tulip. While someone else might associate tulips and windmills and write a poem about this, an authentic tulip aficionado or devotee would know:
• Commercial cultivation of the flower began in early Persia probably somewhere in the 10th century
• The word tulip: English forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French: tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan
• Growing tulips from offsets requires a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower.
• 1594 is considered the official date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands
• Between 1634 and 1637, the early enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy in Europe, now known as the tulip mania. Tulips would become so expensive that they became a form of currency.
• Tulips became popular garden plants in the east and west; symbolizing both paradise on earth and the brevity of life.
Are You Still With Me?
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 even the normal words that I use or the subjects that interest me.“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ― Ernest Hemingway
It is this combination of subject, tone and authenticity in our choice of words that contributes to our niche writing.
Have you found your niche?
Why a Niche?
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; researching
- Then it takes reading other's 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. But 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.”
See It and Imagine It Differently
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 it because this time we are approaching it from a completely different angle, rather like, "oh, another Marilyn Davis article about writing - but with a twist."
Develop Two or Three Niches
I write about addiction and recovery, life lessons, and writing. I find that those three areas give me infinite room to explore feelings, thoughts, perceptions and beliefs. Some would say those three areas 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 other’s thoughts and feelings
- Challenge the status quo or the way things are currently
- Take a proactive or reactive position
- Reference life lessons
- Reflect on the past, the future, the problem and the solution
- Help people recover
- Improve people's lives and writing
Find Your Niche
I know that feeling when you realize that you have crossed all the T’s, when the subject and verb agree, when the punctuation is correct, when your writing simply effortlessly flows and you finish it and smile. Relish that moment, you may just be discovering your niche.
Go for it. And a personal commitment to the serious tulip writers, I will never again encroach on your niche.
© 2013 Marilyn L Davis