BlogHer '12 Interviews: How Did You Find Your Blogging Niche?
It's time for another round of interviews with our amazing BlogHer '12 speakers! I love these; let me tell you why. When our speakers are sitting up front in their panel, we get to know just one side of their story, their experience. I love pulling in other bits and pieces of who these people are and showing them to you so that you might better understand them when the conference arrives! This week I asked:
How did you find your blogging niche?
Kathy Benson, speaking at My Blog No Longer Fits Me: Blogging after Life Change, shares the road that lead her to her niche.
I started blogging in 2007 about secondary infertility and loss. Soon after that someone found me and shared about one of our failed IVF cycles on Melissa “Stirrup Queen” Ford’s Lost and Found Connections Abound. From there I learned about the wonderful Adoption, Loss and Infertility (ALI) Community in the blogosphere and connected with Mel, who I got to meet in person when she was visiting Chicago (where I live) for BlogHer 2009!
I am grateful for the bonds that I have made through blogging. I was writing to keep family and close friends updated on our fertility treatments and never anticipated connecting with such a large and compassionate group who “get” what it’s like not to be able to have a baby or sustain a pregnancy as easily as we imagined.
Over the years Mel's Blogroll, IComLeavWe, book tours and Lori's Perfect Moment Mondays helped me to find my tribe. Now that my situation has mostly been resolved, I feel compelled to reach out to others. I host two regular series on my blog: Gatekeeping and Time Warp Tuesdays to try to help people to cope and find joy when things don’t go as they hoped, dreamed and planned.
Kir Piccini, speaking during the same session, shared how she wandered into her niche.
“Not all who wander are lost”.
This quote exemplifies my blogging journey. When I started writing down my own thoughts, it was to find hearts that spoke to my own struggle with infertility. I didn’t branch out; I didn’t leave my safe and sad pond of other women trying to conceive.
Things changed when I got pregnant, via IVF, with my twins and then again when I became a mother 35 weeks later.
I found myself wandering around the internet, wanting to sit with the infertile group that had defined my blogging for so long and also being wooed not only by the group of friends that had become moms after infertility but also those who knew nothing of my struggle but invited me in just because I had children now. I spent a year, trying to figure out who and what I was in the blogosphere.
Then I found an online writing group and I felt the long silent muse in me wake up. I wrote: Fiction, memoirs, poems and it felt wonderful, to have something beyond my mom and infertile status.
That is how I came to my niche; I wandered; until I found myself again.
Lori Holden, also on that same panel, stumbled upon a... blog in 2007.
In the Spring of 2007 I read a book by Peggy Orenstein called Waiting for Daisy. I was so enthralled with it that I did what any self-respecting bookworm does, I googled it. I landed on a blog (what’s a blog?? I’d heard of them but had never read one) in which this really nice-sounding lady said she was hosting a Waiting for Daisy book tour and all I needed to participate was the book and a blog.
A book and a blog? I already had the former. I saw in the upper corner of that lady’s page the words, “Create Blog.”
So I did. For a month I wrote posts that received no comments, and then the book tour happened. All of a sudden I had a tribe.
It was a beautiful thing.
It's hard for me to answer the question of 'niche.' I consider my writing to be humor writing, vulnerable writing, memoir, culture.
The websites I write for are latino culture, humor, and a weekly parenting teens column in our local paper.
I am always thinking of writing. Writing daily has become a lifestyle for me. Before I can start my day, I have to clear my head of the mental chatter, or weight on my soul, the inspiration, or the lesson learned.
The blogs I follow and depend on have the intent and discipline to stick to their niche: humor, writing introspection. I admire that and feel tempted to do that very thing: be known as a blog where you will only find that one type of writing BUT I have days where I wake up and want to post on what it's like growing up in a dysfunctional home, or what it's like to be a first generation latina trying to figure out America, or life in a small town where I haven't figured out the secret password to get into the club.
I would hope to say my niche is one of accessibility. Of finding my own way to no longer be invisible through helping others find themselves by seeing a bit of them in me. That is how we feel less lonely, isn't it? By seeing ourselves somewhere else, too.
My niche, if I had to check a box, would be that of Hand Extending, the ones saying "me, too - you're not the only one."
You can learn more about this hand-extended writer via her blog.
So what about you: How did you find your niche? Is yours strongly defined like the ALI crowd or are you more of a wide-range blogger with an extended hand?
Keep following along as we continue to near the conference. We'll be interviewing more speakers -- and also for our new pre-conference event, HealthMinder Day. Check out last week's first round of interviews. And, of course, if you haven't registered for BlogHer '12 year, do so now! We'd love to see you there!