How To Develop A Freelance Writing Niche – Let One Find You

by Anne Wayman

writing niche or specialityIf you’re serious about making a living as a freelance writer you’ll find you need to brand yourself and develop a freelance writing niche or specialty. Or at least it often seems that way.

Many beginning writers get caught up in the idea they must have a niche before they start writing. It’s not true.

Freelance Folder has a decent article called Seven Ways to Find Your Writing Niche. Good ideas but if you’re new to writing you might find them a bit overwhelming. I want to take a different approach.

As a beginner, rather than trying to determine the perfect freelance writing niche, it makes sense to take a wide variety of assignments.

Try freelance writing niche free writing

Don’t worry about niches or specialties. Instead explore things like writing for small weekly newspapers.

Write a few pages Hubpages or Demand Studios - you might make a little bit of money and you’ll be gaining some valuable experience and a link or two for your writing credits. Just don’t get stuck there.

Try some blogging – maybe first at blogger or wordpress (both free) to decide if you really want to blog regularly.
Answer ads for writing jobs you’re qualified and those that you seem to be almost qualified for and accept as many different kinds of assignments you can.

None of these require a freelance writing niche, although one might begin to show up for you.

Pay attention to how you feel about each piece you write – notice if you enjoy doing the research and the writing or if you feel bored or unhappy.

I’m betting as you pay attention you’ll discover you like one kind of writing more than another.

The same thing is likely to be true about topics – topics in the broad sense.  Some you’ll like and others you won’t. My hunch is you’ll realize you’ve got a freelance writing niche or two or three.

For example, years ago when the running craze was just getting started, I jogged. I also wrote about running and sold pieces to several magazines and newspapers on a regular basis. When I got my first computer I wrote for computer magazines as an end user learning how to use the machines. When I started to sail I wrote about boats and sailing.

Each of those is an example of a niche that developed because I more or less followed my nose.

My ghostwriting business evolved in much the same way. I stumbled into it with the first book and have been ghosting ever since.

For contrast only let me tell you I’d make a horrid golf writer because I’ve only played the game once. Poker is not my thing to write about because I don’t play.

In other words, write and let your nice develop naturally. Writing is the key, the niche is gravy.

You may also want to read Do You Need A Writing Niche?

How did your niche develop?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer

 

 

Image created at wordle.net

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauri August 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

Great topic Anne. The post gave me the courage today to do something I rarely do: TURN DOWN WORK!

I had been offered work outside my niche and accepted without really thinking about it. It seemed interesting and paid OK. But when I started to look at my calendar, I really didn’t have time for it. Plus, since it was outside my niche, I don’t think I really had the passion for it. In fact, when it came down to it, the ONLY thing I liked about it was that it was new work from a new source. That’s not really a good enough reason to take work if you already have a full plate.

Thanks for helping me Just Say No!

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annew August 25, 2010 at 11:03 am

Love it when I get word that what I post here really helps someone… and turning down work is huge. Congratulations!

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Elizabeth West August 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

When I’m looking at freelance job listings and sites like Demand Studios and Suite101, I get nervous because I don’t really know anything about the subjects at hand. The best listings want someone with experience in that type of writing, and I really have nothing except a little bit of secretarial stuff. I know how to do research, but I write fiction, mostly. How do I take that first step? It’s scary!

I did redo a presentation for a class on effective written communication and offered it as a free download on my blog (http://aelizabethwest.wordpress.com/). I don’t know if anyone will see it but maybe someone who comes across it will like it and ask if I can do something else for them.

I still would rather sell my novels and stories than do this stuff, though!
Elizabeth West recently posted..Selling Yourself Through Your WritingMy Profile

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annew August 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

Elizabeth, your secretarial experience may have taught you more about the kind of writing Demand and Suite101 want… try one or two assignments. Pick something you are at least familiar with and give it a go… you never know. And keep marketing your novel.

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Kathryn Pless August 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I’m a licensed cosmetologist and my mother is an RN so my niches came naturally to me, health and beauty. I’ve since become quite interested in Green Energy although I write on a wide variety of subjects, health and beauty seems to be my bread and butter.
Kathryn Pless recently posted..New Book by Maggie Shayne- Kill Me AgainMy Profile

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annew August 24, 2010 at 10:15 am

That’s one of the great thing about niches – they tend to expand.

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Rebecca August 21, 2010 at 9:47 am

I love writing about personal development (self-help), health and wellness (includes fitness), pets, shelter animals, environment and conservation, the arts, events held for charities, and politics. Right now, I’m focusing on the arts/events, pets, and personal development. I’ll write about the other topics for my personal websites but I’d like to write articles for magazines on them as well.
Rebecca recently posted..To Freelance Writers Who Want to Earn MoreMy Profile

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annew August 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

Those topics will keep you busy for quite a long time!

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Brandi August 21, 2010 at 1:53 am

Great post Anne! I’ll remember that the next time I have an assignment and think about how I feel afterwards.
Brandi recently posted..How to Let Go and Let Good Writing HappenMy Profile

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Roy DSilva August 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Ah! Niches!

I remember that when I started freelance writing, I was working somewhere else and it was more of an adventure than a money making thing. My colleague and I would gleefully discuss how many extra drinks money we made over Budweisers back then with our freelancing gigs.

Over time though, I realised how freelance writing is actually a very lucrative business and I started paying more attention to it, and began writing more concretely too – and I found out that there are some niches that I just cannot write about. Not only niches, there are some clients who have such a brief that you cannot work at all. One classic example was someone who wanted me to write a Geographical article without the help of Wiki, or any other ‘com’ sites about soils or something., Oh, and the pay was pathetic.

If you keep taking everything that comes in your way, you will eventually reach one where you are too bored to do it and leave it half way. Do this a couple of times and you become a non gratis persona in your immediate writing circles. So, while taking everything may have immediate financial advantages, you may face issues in the longer term.

Be ware.
Roy DSilva recently posted..Getting Traffic to your Blog I- The BasicsMy Profile

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annew August 21, 2010 at 9:35 am

Yeah, taking everything forever will make you nuts, more or less… it’s just a way to explore in the beginning.

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