Thursday, April 07, 2011

How to Focus My Writing?

Since, I started trying to write more, I've realized that I need to focus my efforts. Identifying a niche or specialty is a logical place to start but that's been difficult for me because there is so much that interests me. If I were to narrow my interests down to things that I can write about fluidly, my list would include career planning for college students, home security, traveling on a budget, and residential property management. This morning I banged out an article explaining how recent college graduates can rewrite their resume so they stand out to potential employers. The idea, actually 5 ideas, came to me while sitting in a recruiting meeting yesterday. Over the past 5 years or so, I've compiled a long list of mistakes that I made when I first entered the corporate world so writing this article was virtually effortless.

I have spent most of my professional career writing business reports and proposals. The fact that I am mostly experienced in business writing also means that my writing style is more formal. Research is also one of my strengths. However, I've found that it hurts me when I'm trying to write on informal topics because my propensity to research every detail--and my propensity to use words like propensity--often makes my articles seem too technical which can make them difficult to read or boring to the reader. I joined Yahoo Associated Content in January as a way to force myself to write about different topics. It only took a few weeks of reviewing the assignment desk to realize that writing what Yahoo wants is not type of writing that I wanted to do.

Shortly after submitting my third article, a personal finance beat appeared on my account page. I assumed it was because I signed up for AC after reading an article about saving money on cable. Can I write about personal finance? Yes. Maybe I'm interpreting the instructions too literally, but limiting me to only writing in the first person is the reason why that beat does not excite me. I have yet to write anything for the beat. I've created about three draft articles but am reluctant to submit them because personal finance is not my forte. Also, I just don't have enough finance related issues going on in my life to provide Yahoo with a steady supply of articles. I also know that I am a much better writer when I write to inform. As I'm writing this, it occurred to me that I may be able to fulfill Yahoo's requirements for the personal finance beat if I use my property management experience and target my articles to renters. Ha! Now THAT excites me!

7 comments:

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
~Deirdra

M Pax said...

Reading about your writing journey was interesting. Nice to bump into you :)

Hart Johnson said...

I write scientifically during the day and so when I want to do fiction, I have to do it long-hand. I'm not sure if you have fiction aspirations or not, but THERE, you may want to start with short stories and practice in different genres--see what feels most natural.

Samuel said...

I think if we relate tasks that we wouldn't normally enjoy to tasks that enjoy very much, then it makes the un-enjoyable task seem very enjoyable again. I find this out quite a lot about subjects that are work related.

Interesting read.

Langley said...

Hey, I have a propensity to use words like propensity too. My background is in biz writing and my articles are boring. Blogging has helped me break out of the formality. You can totally do that Y!CN beat. Exciting.

Marie Anne said...

Good job on finding that edge! I have a hard time focusing on anything for more than a few minutes at a time.

Catherine Ensley said...

Your goal of being a millionaire by the time you are 60 intrigues me. Being worth one million shouldn't be so hard to do, although being worth millions is probably a little harder ... you think? Best of luck.