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10 – Freelance Writer Business Problems – Do You Need A Writing Niche?

writing nicheOn writing websites, even this one, there’s often discussion of the need to find a freelance writing niche and how, if you want, to find one – the right one. And there are lots of opinions. Some of us, including me, hold several opinions.

For example I’ve written: You Don’t Need A Niche To Start A Successful Freelance Writing Careertold you How To Develop A Freelance Writing Nicheand promoted Joan Soares’  excellent book Find Your Freelance Writing Niche and Make More Money on the topic. And I stand behind each post.

Let’s first define what we mean by a writing niche: Merriam-Webster offers: A specialized market.

That’s a pretty good definition I think. Some examples include this blog which aims at freelance writers as a niche. I also write for Edenkeeper.org where I talk about the Buddhist persepctive on enviornmental issues, and for iHouse blog where I write about real estate.

There are three niches I’m involved in and I have a couple of others.

Jenn Mattern at AllIndieWriters.com has an article called 41 Types of Content to Promote Your Business. She’s got them broken out into 9 categories and even so, it’s not a complete list. These are more categories than niches, perhaps.

One point is that if you’ve got the skills you could get hired to write in any of her categories. Chances are you’ve already got the chops to write in more than one type of the 41.

Why might you want a writing niche?

Why do freelance writers want a writing niche or two or three?

There are several reasons I think, including:

  • You become an authority or expert which may make it easier to get hired in that writing niche.
  • Becoming an authority may mean you can get more pay.
  • It’s often easier to write about what you know.

Don’t wait for a niche

Many new freelance writers struggle to find the ‘right’ niche; some won’t write until they settle this issue. That’s the wrong approach.

Most freelance writers stumble into niches.

My first published booklet was about recovery from alcohol. My second published articles were about single parenting. Guess what? When I started to write seriously I was in my first or second year of sobriety and I was a single parent. (I’m still sober and I’m still a single parent it seems.) The next, as I recall, was about computers in the early day, followed by some articles on running.

No writing niche in sight, if you look at it that way. But I was writing and selling. Gradually I did develop a small niche in running and I still occasionally write about drug and alcohol recovery today.

I was writing what I knew and as I got more familiar with the way freelance writing works, developed some specialities.

It’s also worth stating that over a long writing career, chances are your writing niche will change.

Paula Hendrickson once said something like “I’d rather write what I want to find out about than what I know.” She’s got a point. I’ve learned lots from my writing.

Ultimately I suspect you’ll find a niche or two. I think of them as handy rather than something I must have or that will make or break me as a writer.

Do you have a niche? Several? What do you think about niches in general? Let’s talk about it in comments.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer


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