Michelle Schusterman who blogs and writes from many places, tells us how she does it.
As the old saying goes, “write what you know.” With all the freelance writing jobs floating around in cyberspace – some that actually pay! – it’s easy to grasp at something, anything, that helps pay the bills. But there really is some wisdom to that adage, and writing what you know – finding your niche – can lead to much better gigs in the long run.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what to write about. I just knew I wanted to write. It started with a simple blog on my MySpace page about my life as an expat in Salvador, Brazil. From there, travel writing seemed like a natural fit, so I joined the Matador Travel community and started a travel blog there as well.
Writing for a living is a relatively new concept for me – I’m a musician first. When I ended up in Seoul, Korea last year, I was lucky enough to join several different bands – reggae, pop, and jazz. I decided to take my three passions and create my own blog incorporating each one, and what I ended up with was MusicTravelWrite.
While I still branch out and write about other topics I feel comfortable with when they come up, like gadgets or education, defining my niche as a traveling musician and basing my own website on those skills has really helped me develop my personal brand as a writer. After a few months of blogging for just a few hits a day, I’m starting to get requests for both writing and musical services through the contact form on my website. I also started an internship with Matador, which has since led to an Associate Editor position with Matador Goods.
Joining Suite101 has been a great way for me to work on those three areas, as most of my articles there are related to music, travel, and writing. In fact, I discovered that writing about writing was so much fun that I applied for the “Resources for Writers” Feature Writer position as soon as I saw it was open!
Most freelance writers have a personal blog (and if not, they should!). My website is both personal, in that my blog posts are sometimes just about life in general, and professional, showcasing my writing and musical portfolios. I believe that every writer can benefit from using their blog to focus on their niche, their specialty, that knowledge or expertise they have that few others do.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu