A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to write a book. One of my trusted advisors told me that I should start a blog in order to get my feet wet and gain a following. So that’s what I did.
I didn’t know too much about the blogging world. I enjoyed reading articles I came across on Facebook, but that was about it.
So I began reading articles on blogging – how to write a successful blog, how to reach a bigger audience, how to monetize my blog.
The first piece of advice every article gives is to find a niche.
I had heard that word before, just not in this context. A few years ago, I taught elementary science. It was pretty much my dream job. One of my favorite units to teach was ecosystems. My fourth graders explored habitats, adaptations, and food webs.
One of their key vocabulary words in that unit was ‘niche.’
A niche is an animal’s role in its habitat. It includes everything the organism does – what it eats, what eats it, what it cleans up, and what it leaves behind.
I used to tell the students, “A niche is like a job. What makes that animal useful in its environment?”
But I’d never seen the word used in literature and writing. I’ve heard of genre or style, but never niche. Apparently, in order to be a successful blogger, I must first identify my target audience. Then I should write articles geared toward that particular group.
That’s simple enough. If your business is dog training, you should write about dog things – dog behaviors, dog treats, dog cages. It makes sense.
But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to follow that advice. I hated the thought of writing about one subject for the rest of my days. I don’t like anything that much.
I do write quite a bit of articles geared toward autism, but I also write about parenting in general. I even like to dabble in politics and girly things. In fact, my top 3 blog posts had absolutely nothing to do with one another – their topics were racism, special education, and Swiss army knives.
So if I had to choose a target audience, they would be readers.
Now before you start rolling your eyes, just hear me out.
I grew up in a house full of books. There were books everywhere – on the bookshelves, on the tables, in the kitchen, in the bathrooms… There were books of every genre – biographies, novels, cookbooks, self-help, and even comics. My parents absolutely love to read.
At no time did I hear them say they weren’t interested in one particular subject. Well, I guess my dad wasn’t reading any of those romance novels with Fabio gracing the cover. But other than that, nothing was off limits.
The same is true of most readers. They enjoy escaping their own world, and entering another. They appreciate being challenged and learning new information.
I want to write stories that are relatable to everyone. Whether the topic of the day is autism or politics, I want to allow readers to enter my world for a couple of minutes. I want to give them something to think about, something to provoke them, something to ignite their emotions.
Maybe it’s not the best business decision, and I’m sure I will evolve as a writer. But for now, this is where I find myself… forever nicheless.