The Junior League of Atlanta offers classes for people to “Find Your Niche.” Options include book clubs, Bunko clubs, and apparently the newest fad amongst stay-at-home Moms who have too much time on their hands, scrapbooking. The premise is that you will make better friends, be better Junior League members, if you find yourself enjoying time with like-minded people. While the premise is somewhat cheezy, I can relate to searching for a niche.
I have been writing on this website for three years and four months, to the day. I have written 301 (well, 302 if you count this) articles on this site alone, with countless others on sites like Citysearch or sarahhatter.com (during a guest posting stint) and for two+ years on SheSheMe. That adds up to a LOT OF WRITING, about a LOT of different topics.
In fact, as I was just preparing some of my clips to send out for possible freelance work, I noticed that there are too many to fit in the snazz-matazz folder that I had printed to look all professional-like. Between the restaurant reviews (the best job in the world, one I miss each and every day as I have to PAY FOR MY MEAL like common folk) and the Wednesday Wisdoms and the little articles o’ fun that I have here, it hit me.
I need a niche.
I’ve been meaning to write a book now for, say, 19 years? (Well, if you count “The Teddy Bear Mysteries” that I started in a blank book purchased by my loving parents at my favorite event of the year, the Scholastic Book Fair.) Seriously, though, I’ve been wanting to write a book since college. I’m faced with a quandary of genre…do I write about what I know, about being a twenty-something single gal faced with the harsh reality of dating winners, losers, and gay anorexics (i.e., most of what I have on this site, and what a great title that would be!) or do I write what I know I have in me, a more serious, poignant novel that I’m not quite ready to experience?
I firmly believe that you have to write what you know, and to that end, I’m leaning towards the former. I’ve never had a child. I’ve never had a husband. I’ve never had a lot of those ‘real’ experiences that writers like Anna Quindlen and Alice Sebold and other favorites of mine talk about in such detail, a trait earned by years of living and experiencing and learning. I feel like I would be a fraud if I tried to discuss those things without any first-hand experiences.
Then there’s the option of somewhere in between – Anna Maxted is a good example of this, as she writes lighthearted books that captivate the reader but always have something not-so-flighty about them, a lyrical way to weave the serious with the comic 20-something lit that has finally hit its niche here in the US. (I could extole the virtues of many of the British authors who long ago realized this genre needed something other than John Grisham, supermarket romance novels, or Joan Collins, but I’ll leave that to another post.) Anyway, that “Holly Go Lightly” meets “Felicity” type of book might work for me. At least it’s a thought.
And yet, there’s something that I hadn’t considered until today, another whole genre that I could write about because I DO know about it. Non-fiction, in the Cynthia Rowley & Ilene Rosenzweig “Swell”-esque writing, is right up my proverbial alley. I have TONS of articles already written about “Wediquette” and the like, cheeky little articles that are fun AND functional.
VOILA! I think I’ve found my niche.
Now I only need to find an agent*…
* If you know of any, please, I beg of you, send ’em my way. A niche without an agent is like, well, an Aubrey without a publishing contract.