Writing is a broad field, like medicine or engineering. Yes, there are doctors and there are engineers. But these are broad terms – just like the word ‘writer’. Many persons are wont to call themselves writers (I’m guilty of this myself), but it’s a vague appellation at best.
When you introduce yourself as a writer, people don’t really know where to put you. This is why some folks don’t take us, writers, seriously. You are probably wondering what I’m trying to get or where I’m going. Stay with me.
A doctor is not merely a doctor. Although there are general practitioners, most doctors have a specialisation. They are either a dentist, a neurosurgeon, a paediatrician or an otolaryngologist. The list goes on and on. Even there are different sorts of dentists; there is the peridontist, the orthodontist, the exodontist, etc. You get the gist.
The same applies to engineering. There are electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, structural, etc. Even under each subfield of engineering, there are further specialisations.
Writing is no different. If you really want to make money off the ancient craft of stringing words together, you have to define what sort of writer you are. You can’t just be a “writer” unless of course, you want to starve (chuckles).
Let’s be realistic. No one wants to hire just a writer. No one will tell their friend about just a “writer”. No one wants to buy from just a “writer”.
What exactly do you write? Novels? Poems, Ads copy? Proposals? Editorials? What kind of a writer are you? People want to know. Spare them the confusion.
You have to pick a niche and own it. You have to pick a small area of the boundless field of writing and become a lord there. You must pick a certain speciality and master it. Else, you are not ready to start making money off your craft.
Writing is so big these days. Thanks to the internet, the possibilities are endless. Today, there are so many niches to choose from. There’s copywriting, freelance writing, ghost-writing, blogging, etc.
The interesting part is that each of these subfields also has various niches under them. Take blogging for example, you still have to choose a specific niche on which you will blog.
You can become an expert in more than one niche. Yes, that is possible. It’s even desirable. But it takes a considerable effort, and there’s the risk of spreading yourself too thin such that you end up not being here nor there.
It’s better to attain competency in one, before moving on to master another. For example, you could be a great freelance writer and blogger. Managing the two together is what a lot of people do. You too can.
Focus remains one of the most important attributes required to attain success in any endeavour. Writing is not an exception. There is a popular acronym for focus: Follow One Course Until Successful. It’s a cliché. But like most clichés, it’s true.
You don’t want to shuffle between two or more areas without actually attaining mastery and success in any of them. That’s not a wise move. You can succeed in one first, then move on to another one afterwards. Tom Kuegler, one of the successful Medium writers I follow, mastered blogging first before going into videos.
So, when next you want to introduce yourself or fill a form, don’t just put “writer”. Put the sort of writer you are. It may be freelancer writer or ghost-writer. You can also take it further. Instead of putting just blogger, you can say fashion blogger or travel blogger.
Know what you are and who you really want to be. Don’t just be a “writer”. Be a competent specialist. Be confident about your skill. Let others know what sort of writer you really are. Don’t leave us guessing, please (winks).
PS: I’m a published poet, I blog at www.olaidozen.com.ng/blog and I ghost-write as well.