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!