I receive unsolicited emails from aspiring writers, published authors, teachers, and more. For reasons unknown to me at the time, I decided to save them. Over the years I have collected a bunch. Now I want to make a place for them. From time to time I will post these questions and my actual responses. All identifying information will of course be removed, but I think other writers will benefit from the questions others are asking.
Email I received:
I stumbled across Write Naked and your portfolio website this afternoon after coming across the links on Reddit. After spending the next few hours reading your blog posts and checking out your site I wanted to say thanks for the inspiration for the day!
I’m just starting out as a freelance writer and am trying to devour as much information as I can, I’m sure you understand. It’s always refreshing to see that yes, the freelance life isn’t a mirage and is entirely possible! With that being said, do you have any words of advice for a newbie on finding “your voice” or finding a “niche”?
Thanks for contacting me. I’m glad you came across my site and found it helpful! 🙂 I really appreciate the time you took to let me know. Although I have over 200 followers on Write Naked, I don’t hear from all of them and it’s nice to hear from writers and know that the information I put out there can make a difference.
If you didn’t see it yet, here is a page on my site where I list a bunch of helpful resources for writers. The books listed there are super and I refer to them year after year. Finding your voice will take some experimenting. Depending on the type of writing you wish to pursue (fiction, memoir, blogs, technical, etc.), you can join a relevant critique group or writing organization. Receiving feedback from other writers will quickly help you establish your own voice, as long as you take their critiques constructively. (Otherwise, you may end up with someone else’s voice!) As far as finding your niche, it will take time. I recommend doing a SWOT analysis twice each year, I blogged about those here. You will quickly see where your strengths lie and that will probably help you figure out a direction to take.
I’m not sure where you’re located, but I host workshops from time to time around the East Coast. I’m hoping to do one in Chicago sometime over the next year or two.
If you ever want to do a guest post about your freelance writing journey, feel free to pitch me!