05 January, 2015

Hello Monday: Your Niche and the Arena

Hello friends!

Welcome to the first Monday of the new year. I hope you had a blessed weekend. My love and I did a date night on New Year’s Eve. We tried somewhere new, watched some of the college bowl game frenzy and went home.

The start of the year brings a time to think about commitments and what we would like to change in our lives.

I am currently enrolled in Capture30 over at Big Picture Classes. It is a chance to start the year focused on what matters. Connecting to your dreams and leaving the rest behind.

For one assignment we had to write down a Possibilities List. Not a to do list, but one that was more focused than that. It’s areas of our lives we’d like to focus on. Things to learn about, focus on or change.

It was hard for me. But I finally was able to identify some things including writing more (and developing that craft), learning more about photography (my other love) and learning to live with less. I cling to stuff to define myself and I want to let friendships and memories do that instead.

With that in mind, I came across a blog by Seth Godin. He puts in perspective the idea of impact, or your niche. In this ever increasing social media, digital age, we are told that to have an impact we have to have 100,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers! We have to create content that gets shared! There are tips and tricks all over the place. Social media experts (what is that really?) will help you reach magical numbers.

But Godin asks what if instead of trying to increase our niche because it’s not currently “big enough” (which does nothing but tell our current niche they aren’t good enough), we produce “more value” for those who are already with us and let the growth come naturally.

You might have 100,000 Facebook fans, but how many really care about what you are putting out there?

Another article that caught my eye was about how much writers actually make. Yesterday CBS Sunday Morning did a story on Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid series. Kinney found tremendous success with a book originally written for adults (no joke). But not that many writers get to Kinney’s level.  

Jim Hines gives us a look into his finances for 2014. He is a published author, whose books have been successful (not NY Times successful but still they sell well). Even though he has been publishing one book a year since 2006, writing is still not his full time vocation.  

Hines is a much more typical writer’s story. I think most writers would even enjoy getting to his level. Too often as a writer, I dream of reaching Kinney’s level (don’t we all), but maybe Hines’ level is more realistic, if you are lucky enough to get a book published a year.

All of this comes on the heels of my finishing Accidental Creative over the weekend. In it Todd Henry alludes to the idea of emptying yourself every day. (He then expands on the idea in his book Die Empty.) Emptying yourself is the idea of leaving it all on the table. It’s pursuing whatever you are doing (which is hopefully attached to what you love) with all you have. It’s not being idle or waiting for whatever we think would make our situation ideal to come, but doing it now.

He writes that life is finite. And each day is too precious to not give all you have. We each have a unique contribution to make. While I am not 100% sure what that is for me, Henry’s book has challenged me to stop living in this holding pattern and get into the arena.

image from Etsy

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© Amanda Lunday