Wrestling with my writing

An honest reflection about trying to find my writing niche

Lately, I’ve found myself wresting with troubling questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • What is the point of my existence?
  • What have I really achieved with my life?
  • What am I accomplishing that is truly meaningful?
  • What is my contribution to the world meant to be?

These questions periodically float in and out of my mind. I know I’m not alone in facing these existential moments. Sometimes I do a good job of convincing myself of all the good I’m doing with my life; other times I merely bury the questions.

I’m torn, too, between these questions being a source of pain and frustration, and them being a healthy motivator to not settle, to keep growing, and to keep making the most of my life.

I want my life to matter. I want it to count for something. I want to influence others in a positive way. And I know in plenty of small ways I have, but there is a part of me that longs for more. I feel like there is more I have to offer than I’ve currently found a way to express.

One context for these questions is right here, with my writing. Though I’ve written plenty of articles over the years, I know I’ve still not truly found my niche. I’ve written about personal stuff, faith, technology, politics, and sport. And thousands of people have cumulatively read these. But I’ve not yet reached the place I want to be. (Nor, though—and this is clearly problematic—am I even sure where that place is.)

Part of the challenge is simply that I get bored easily. My interests are broad. I like the idea of having a strong focus and discipline to what I write about, but I’m not sure I like the reality. I like to be able to jump into whatever is interesting me at the time, despite realising that makes me a hard person to build a audience with. I know some people are solely interested in my tech thoughts. Others just my writing on faith and church. It’s hard to build an audience when I’m jumping from one subject to another and people have no idea what I’ll write about next or whether it will interest them.

I would love to find a way to make my writing so engaging and interesting that, no matter the subject, there is something of interest for almost anyone. So perhaps, and I’m thinking as I write here, I need to learn to always find an angle to write about – regardless of whether the subject is technology, faith, politics, or sport – that is engaging and interesting to a broad audience.

Take a writer like Malcolm Gladwell: he writes about all manner of topics, and yet there is a unity to his writing. And, in truth, it’s Malcolm Gladwell I’m interested in, not necessarily — at least initially— the specific subject matter he’s writing about. He manages to always draw out something that’s interesting and meaningful. That’s where I’d like to get to, though it’s not yet clear to me what the steps are to getting there.

It’s tempting as a writer to only write about struggles after they have been resolved. Well this is me wrestling with the purpose of my writing pre-resolution! I haven’t found the answers yet. This isn’t an article about how I found my writing niche. This is me—raw and honest — right in the middle of the struggle.

I’ll keep you posted about how things go!

If this is something you’ve been through too, I’d love to hear about how you found your writing niche.

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