Writing: Should I Find a Niche?

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For this month’s IWSG Blog Hop, my question is this: As a writer, should I settle with a “niche”?

I discovered writing by “accident” at the age of eleven, and been writing on and off ever since.  In 2007, my first (short) story was published.  Now that I’m a full-time homemaker, I write almost every day.

Yet, I haven’t decided which form or genre or niche to settle on.

I’ve dabbled in poetry,  screenwriting, essays, journaling/memoir, serial fiction, flash and short stories and have written in almost every genre (except for historical fiction).

What’s my problem?

I enjoy writing all of them.

I’ve been told that I should write whatever my heart and soul desire.

So, why am I so conflicted?

Although I have published many forms of writing but they’ve all been “short” (meaning under 10,000 words), I still have hope to publish a novel one day and that’s my dilemma.

If I write and publish a book in a particular genre, does that mean I’m stuck with that genre in the foreseeable future?  Or, can I jump around from one genre to another? My main concern is confusing my readers especially if they enjoy reading only that particular genre and not the others.

Or, perhaps I’m making a huge mountain out of a molehill?

 

 

Exploring Nonfiction

darkwoods

 

 

I’ve been writing (somewhat) regularly since 2007; so that’s about nine years now.  Most of this time I focused on fiction (of supernatural or apocalyptic nature) while occasionally dabbling in poetry or essays.   While fiction is still my first love, I find that I am being pulled more and more towards writing nonfiction.

Wait a minute.  Hold the phone.

What exactly is nonfiction?

Here’s my favorite word: research.

Nonfiction (according to Dictionary.com): is “the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality.”

Some examples are:

academic paper, autobiography, biography, book report, creative nonfiction, diary, dictionary, encyclopedia, essay, handbook, journal and memoir.

I looked at a few of these examples a bit further.

Essay (Dictionary.com) is “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.”

This would include: “literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.” (Wikipedia)

Essay can take on other creative forms:  film essay or photographic essay.

Memoir Versus Autobiography: are very similar to one another in that they give intimate details of one’s life.  What are the differences?

Autobiography focuses more on chronological events, and deals mostly with facts and reality.  Memoir, on the other hand, is less obsessed with facts and more about emotional truth.  It generally has a subject of focus rather than detailing all the chronological events of one’s life.

What if I don’t want to deal completely in the nonfiction and yet don’t want it to be all imaginary either.  What other options would I have?

Semi-fiction is “fiction implementing a great deal of nonfiction such as a fictional description based on a true story.” (Wikipedia)

One example of semi-fiction would be an autobiographical novel which is a form of novel that merges elements of fiction with autobiography.

At the age of forty-five, I am finding it increasingly difficult NOT to write about my life experiences.  Some of them however are still painful to me today, or I am afraid of hurting loved ones, so I tend to stay away from anything truly autobiographical in nature.   Yet I don’t want my work to be based entirely on facts or reality either.  I want to explore the emotional truth of my life experiences so memoir and essay are attractive to me.

The only way to honestly find out is by writing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusk (Arrival at the School for the Blind)

dusk in nd

 

“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.”-Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense

(*The following is an excerpt from the journal I wrote during my week at the School for the Blind)

I decided I would journal about my week here at the School for the Blind.  Originally, I postponed the one I should have gone to back in March; but, because of anxiety issues, I opted out.  What finally enabled me to attend this particular week in June?  One, a passionate pep talk from my husband (if I don’t do this now, my anxiety would only get worse); and two, Pam’s-my Vision Specialist here at the School, gentle encouragements.

So, here I am.  Arrived at the School around 6pm.  Hubby and son left soon after I found my room.  Felt a little apprehensive so I busied myself by unpacking everything.  I was then summoned by one of the other Visual Specialists, Amy.  We sat at one of the round tables in the Common Area where she peppered me with various questions such as what are some of my goals for the coming week.  This session lasted for about 1/2 hour.   I was invited stay to have sandwiches with the others.

I couldn’t.

I’m back in my room now, in my jammies.  Have my tablet (no television in my room) so I think I’ll catch a few episodes of Bones.

I think there will be at least five other residents here with me for the week.  I’m sure I’ll be meeting them tomorrow.  I have no idea of what to expect here and that has me feeling quite nervous.  Hope I can get some sleep tonight.   I know I should have stayed to meet the others…this will keep nagging at me tonight.  Story of my life.

Should haves.  Regrets. Missed chances and opportunities.  Constantly self-sabotaging as punishment.  But, for what?

Okay, need to stop dwelling on the past.  Can’t change any of that now.

Time for Bones.

#1 Reason Why We Should Record Our Lives

This quote says it best:

“The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard.” –Barbara W. Tuchman

Who wants to go through this life, and then pass on without being remembered?  I don’t think anyone desires to be forgotten.  What better way to carry on your legacy than to leave a written record of your time on this world?

 

What about you?  How does this quote speak to you?

 

Journey As a Writer and a Blogger (Part Two)

As you may have noticed through my recent posts, I seem to be struggling with self-identity as well as wondering what role(s) I should take on as a writer/blogger since I left the work place permanently over a year ago.

Below are some of the posts I’m referring to:

Are you a blogger or a writer? (Poll)

Journey as a writer and a blogger

Quotes about writing and blogging

One of the by-products of being home full-time (and as a person who can not drive so am pretty much house-bound) is that I tend to over-analyze things.  More times than not, this is counter-productive.

Well, for me it is.

Many of my readers have told me that blogging/writing actually work well together.  Yes, you can be both a writer and a blogger.

I’m now starting to understand what they mean.

There are those who write horror or science fiction books/stories, and then turn around and blog about things that relate to their work (such as movie or book reviews, various topics within the particular genre, etc.).

Those in the nonfiction realm would publish a memoir or essays based on personal experiences would in turn blog about topics that relate to these (mental health issues, cancer or other life-threatening diseases, victims of sexual abuse, etc.).

On and on the list of examples could go; but, I hope you get the point.

I suppose the underlying theme of all this is find your “brand” as a writer, and then build your blog(s) around that “brand.”

This is starting to sound like a marketing or business scheme…but, I guess when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, yeah, I think that what it’s about.   It’s about sharing what you are as a writer, and your work, with your audience.  Hence, that’s where blogging comes in.

Well, that’s how I’m starting to perceive blogging to be.  Perhaps I could be wrong.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Shaky Ground

Starting off the New Year on shaky ground with the flu (the entire family came down with this).  Work-wise, this is not a good thing.  What could I do?  Spread the love?

Yeah, right.

I’m venturing more into the nonfiction arena this year with a new blog called Whispering Shadows, which will be part memoir and part journal.  I’ve been toying with this idea for a number of years; and this year I decided, what the heck, let’s get it on!  Once completed, I will need beta readers to help me revise and edit, and then I’ll have to decide how to have it published.

In April, I plan to write pretty much nothing but poems.   One of these years, I will have a poetry chapbook published.

Then I have my web fiction work to focus on, especially Redemption. I’d love to complete this one by the end of the year.

There are also other stuff I hope to work on, plus my “resolutions” that I previously posted about.  If I manage to be successful on even a handful of these, this should be a productive year.

Stay tuned!