Writing
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How to Find Your Writing Niche (2)

When I first explored the concept of a writing niche, I immediately thought: fiction or non-fiction. But when I began to play with the phrase, I realized that to me, it meant more than just deciding whether to write fiction or non-fiction.

Pondering on the concept of a writing niche conjured images of me writing, comfortably ensconced in a place where all of my energies were focused on pen and paper. In real life, that wasn’t happening. I was writing either on a desk crowded with so many things, or in a restaurant. Not in my cozy writing niche.

Playing around with the phrase also made me feel how I so wanted to write at a magical time, but I had no idea what time was magical for me.

Creative non-fiction had been my genre since my short career as a freelance journalist many years ago, and I knew I wanted to stick to it. Non-fiction was also my writing niche.

But before I could begin to truly write again, first I had to find that place that would be like a cradle where I could write undisturbed: my writing niche.

niche

So I bought a book about writing spaces, hoping to find some tips on how to create the perfect writing niche. In “Writing Spaces,” Eric Maisel helps his readers by first showing how famous writers created their writing spaces – the physical spaces where they wrote. Then he gives suggestions on how you could create your own. It could be in your home or anywhere around the world. As you read further however, Maisel says, hey wait, there’s more to writing spaces than just the physical space. You need to create the right writing space in your brain. In your emotional life as well, there should be space for writing. He doesn’t stop there. He tells his readers that they should have a reflective space, an imagined space, and an existential space within their writing space.

As for being a writer, this is what Maisel says,”To be a writer you must write, but being a writer is not about writing. The next time you worry your brain about whether you can write, slap yourself hard. Everyone can write. Your worry should be whether you are brave enough to vanish into the depths of your neuronal circuitry and come back with creations. You are a diver, not a writer; an explorer, not a writer; an inventor, not a writer; a magician, not a writer.”

The act of diving, exploring, inventing and creating magic begins not in the writing process. It starts with the creation of a writing life which includes niches within niches within niches.

It took time before I found my physical writing niche. The writing desk I’ve had for decades was not it. My writing niche turned out to be the couch beside it. Now, there’s a basket filled with notebooks on the space between the couch and the desk. I use a lap table to make it easier to write on my journals. That’s my writing niche. I feel safe there. It feels good to sit there and write. Restaurants no longer appeal to me as writing places. I have found my writing niche.

What place in your house, neighborhood, workplace invites you to spend time to write there? There’s something magical about finding that niche in your house or in a cafe. For Maya Angelou, it was a hotel room.

So this is what came out of my word play. Toying around with the concept of a writing niche showed me the gaps that needed to be filled in order to create a writing life. I saw that I needed a physical writing niche, so I searched for one.

Your own explorations may have yielded different discoveries. If nothing has come out of the time you spent on word play, perhaps you need to dive deeper? Or maybe you’re being asked to invent something for yourself?

If you’ve spent enough time on word play, you must have discovered something. Whatever the discovery, follow-up on it. Explore it, read about it, or do more word play.

Searching for your writing niches may be just what you need to create or enliven your writing life. Hopefully, word play has helped you discover that writing niches are not just about genre.

How to Find Your Writing Niche (3)

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16 Comments

  1. I think that I must be an odd duck in this because, while I have a great little space in the old choir loft of the 1930s era church building, (ok, so it’s rather a large loft with an included side niche that will be made over into a huge writing/reading chair), I have a tendency to write wherever I can, whenever I can. Until the loft’s closet is made into a play room, I’m going to be downstairs with the toddler mmost of the time anyway so I use the couch or my oversized chair/ottoman to curl up on and write while she plays.

    I carry at least one notebook, usually 3, with me at all times and have been known to even write in the dentist’s chair as he’s trying to numb me up and take x-rays (that was yesterday…I wrote almost 3 pages before I had to put it away).

    While I tend to stick with my ‘comfort’ zone of YA fantasy, written in the classic style (why oh WHY do people seem to think that books written for 8th graders need sex and spurting bloody cursing in them??), I enjoy the occasional tryst into other areas. Maybe because I can always retreat to my niche and write with my dragons. Or maybe the only reason any of those places work is the large pouch of colored pens and the journals I carry around. Maybe those are my niche.

    Sorry for the long winded comment! Great and thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this response. And no need to apologize, really. I once received an equally long comment for a blog post I wrote, it was so full of great ideas I decided to turn it into a blog post. You are a published author – I would love for the readers of this blog to read your comment…it gives a peak into the life of an author. I hope you don’t mind if I use your entire comment as my blog post tomorrow?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your wonderings, Rosanna. Because it is more than a physical space, a genre, a style, or time of day. It’s all those things. Perhaps what you outline is the solution to writer’s block and procrastination – filtering out what doesn’t work by exploring and committing to what does. Excellent post.

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        • Well, what’s happening behind your secret doors is definitely more exciting than what’s happening behind mine (and I only have one secret door)! I’m (slowly) reading your book and I’m wondering how a woman can write about swords and things about swords so well! Research yes, but you seem to know how to handle swords….

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          • I took a brief sword-fighting lesson with a friend to get the feel of it and borrowed a sword to play with in the front yard. It was hysterical. I couldn’t stop laughing. The rest is research and imagination. 🙂

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            • Well, it shows in your writing that you know your swords:-) I can imagine how much you have enjoyed learning how to use one 🙂

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  3. Much truth and validity in your post today Rosanna. I am piqued by Morrison’s exhortation to pin down the hour at which one’s creativity is heightened. I haven’t done that yet. Maybe the time our internet is down will help me discover that magical hour when creativity abounds. 🙂 Linda

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    • Aw, Linda, I do hope you’ll find some solution to your internet problem. But you’re right, you can turn this situation around and look for that magical moment….

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  4. Pingback: How to Find Your Writing Niche (1) | Writing on the Pages of Life

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