Refusing to be pigeonholed
“You must identify your niche!”
This is one of the many pieces of advice I’ve seen in the loads and loads of reading I have been doing, both in print and online, about how to start a paying career in writing. I have done so much reading, in fact, that I have not done nearly enough writing. Ironic? Don’t ya, think?
Yesterday, as I was running down Lincoln Way, I was thinking about this, and how much it galled me. There is so much to this writing thing that seems counterintuitive. Yes, of course, I would love to pay the bills with my writing income, but then there is the whole artist perspective to consider.
Writing like painting and sculpting is often best when it is done for its own sake.
Clinging too tightly to my niche is for the birds
I have, in my studies, found some who would say that you must write, and your niche will find you. This seems to gel more perfectly with my swimming with the current (rather than against it) sensibilities that I have been honing. As I ran and considered niches yesterday, I came upon a tree and a flash of red caught my eye. I stopped in my tracks on the side of the road and realized that I was catching my first glimpse of robins this spring. There were three of them making merry in the tree, and seeing them was a chance to gain some perspective.
Why must I as an artist commit to writing about one thing? Sure, there’s the whole marketing thing, but if I write about anything and everything perhaps I will hit on that one great thing.
Soar with the eagles
In some of my other efforts to cram “how-to” knowledge into my head, I have come across the sentiment many times that you must be a great reader to be a great writer. NOW HERE IS SOMETHING I CAN DO! Sure, reading isn’t a lucrative full-time job, but learning from the masters is a worthy pursuit, nonetheless.
Thanks to Ray Bradbury’s, Zen in the Art of Writing and Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind – Living the Writer’s Life, I feel I have been given permission to both read and write. In doing so, it is my understanding that I will continue to improve my art and through this bring something meaningful to the world.
Does this mean that through practice I will find my niche? I don’t know. I don’t think that is something I can know. It would appear this journey through life is about more than that.
Playing “chicken” with my destiny
If my fowl clichés are making you want to give me the bird, I’m sorry. I am just feeling a bit plucky today! Each time I stare down my fears and insecurities and press on, I am one step closer to realizing my dreams. Perhaps in the end I will find that I have known my niche all along.