Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thought of the day: "Niche-less" is not a bad word

So, technically, "niche-less" isn't a word at all, let alone a bad word. Nonetheless, it feels taboo. 

Being without a niche in my writing is something I've been struggling with recently. When you first meet someone, one of the first questions is, "What do you do?" Now that my answer is, "I'm a writer," the follow-up is immediately, "What do you write about?"

Ummm, do I start listing subjects? 

Just when I thought I would no longer stumble over answering the question that is most commonly asked to define someone, I begin rambling a mix of what I write in no particular order that really does not provide a clear depiction of the kind of writer I am. 

When I was a secretary, I always asterisked my answer of what I did by adding, but I want to be a writer. Like I had to be paid to write to be able to call myself a writer. That's what I thought. Otherwise, I felt like a fraud. I felt at any moment someone would say, you're not a writer, you're a secretary. And, they'd be right.

It's not that being a secretary is shameful. Lord knows I worked my ass off as one. It's the idea that I wasn't what I wanted to be.

And now I feel I need a parenthetical answer for being a writer without a niche. It's like without being able to provide a clear answer, I am aimless and not where I want to be all over again. 

Luckily, I am starting to understand that I'm still exploring. I write about nearly everything. Or, if I don't currently, I don't want to cancel out the possibility that I might in the future. I want to have a voice that is not limited. That's what kind of writer I want to be. 

I'm niche-less and I need to accept it.

And not just accept it, embrace it. It's not my style in writing or in life to fit into a mold. I hope people read what I write. Even more, I hope they like it and value it. But the truth is that I will continue to write no matter how many people read it, like it, comment on it, tweet it, or ignore it.

I don't like saying that I'm a writer because it is what I do for a living. I like saying it because it's something that feeds my soul and has for the greater part of my life. I rely on it in the same way I do prayer. That's not to be irreverent, the opposite, in fact. It is something I cherish and it defines the kind of faith I choose to live by.

I was talking with a friend who recently started her own blog and told her, you have to do it for YOU first. You can't write something for someone else's opinion. There will be tons of those for you to deal with. But your mind will become cluttered with what other people think you should do, and you won't be able to put down your unique thoughts, which is one of the many joys that comes from writing. 

Even if you never get paid for it, even if no one reads a damn thing you put down, for a moment you took the time to record something and make it count. 

No need for a niche; that's pretty awesome all by itself.