I’ve been writing on Medium for seven months now and have learned many valuable insights about how to be successful writing on an open platform. Success is, of course, a subjective word, but for me, it means my articles are being read; they are generating responses, and my following continues to grow.
That may sound a bit self-serving, but it’s also true, and like Rafiki from The Lion King sagaciously reminded us, ‘we can either run from it or we can learn from it’. Ok, ok, I know, Rafiki was actually talking about the past, but it works so well for honesty too, so I paraphrased.
Paraphrasing aside, being honest, open, and even vulnerable is one of the many valuable insights I’ve learned since I began writing on Medium. Some other things include:
- How to Write Negatively Without Being Negative
- How to Avoid Writers Block
- How to Show Writers Love through Read Times
- 5 Steps to Generate Your Own Success
What I Left Out
There’s a lot of great advice out there to soak up and most of it can only improve what you’re already doing, but there’s one thing that doesn’t see quite as much light of day. You can find literally hundreds of articles about spinning a great yarn or fabricating a spectacular 5-minute brain-teaser; what you won’t find quite so easily are strategies for finding your niche.
‘My hoobie-whatie?’ you may ask.
‘Your Niche.’ I say again, smile knowingly and nod.
So what the Harry Potter is a niche? Well, Oxford has a few definitions:
A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.
A specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.
Denoting products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
Yeah, boring. I hear you. Yet, nothing is more important than finding your niche. Why? Because your niche is the crowd you want to be in. It’s those people who will engage with you whether you’re talking about the hottest, trending thing-a-ma-bob or writing a mind-numbing synopsis for a mundane doo-hickey. They will read what you write regardless of whether it’s on the New York Times Bestsellers list or it’s your grocery list.
And, why else would you write? You write to be read, am I right?
How Do I Know What I Want to be When I Grow up?
I remember thinking this question and asking people this question all throughout my childhood, and even my teen years. Heck, even when I was in my twenties, because out of all the jobs available to choose from, the only one I REALLY WANTED was the one everyone said wouldn’t amount to anything.
I wanted to write, but you know how it is. Your teachers, your parents and even some of your friends all tell you to get your head out of the clouds and pick a real job.
I, however, didn’t want the so-called ‘Real’ job. Believe me, I’ve tried many; yet throughout all my endeavors to settle into a 9–5-career, my thoughts unceasingly returned to writing.
Characters. Landscapes. Realms.
Unique languages. Creatures. Magic.
Rhyme, form, and, yes…even grammar, because these are the things that give me true satisfaction. These are the things that matter to me and these are the things I want to surround myself with for the rest of my life.
Occam’s Razor — (Stay with me, this will all make sense in a moment…)
Merriam-Webster’s definition of the scientific principle of Occam’s Razor is:
A scientific and philosophical rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities.
That’s what I thought too.
In simple terms, it means all things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one. — (Thank you Carl Sagan for explaining this is your book Contact)
Like this principle, knowing what your niche is really doesn’t have to be rocket science, despite the fact that there are myriad formulas out there to try to help you. In fact, you already know what it is, you just don’t know that you know.
What do you love doing and know so much about that you could explain it to anyone….and get them interested in it too?
What sparks your passion and keeps you interested day after day, week after week, month after month, yadda-after-yadda?
What would you gladly do for the rest of your life if money didn’t matter?
There you go!
Whatever your answer to these questions may be, chances are it’s not only the thing you love to do, know everything about, spend your free time doing, and talk about whenever you get the chance…but…..
You’ve also found your niche!!!
Yes, it’s that simple.
Now, go write about it.