Staying in your lane can mean a lot.
It can be difficult to stay within the confines of a field of focus if you are an entrepreneurial type. Being a specialist instead of a jack-of-all-trades is what it is. Sometimes it means paying attention to your own business. Keeping your head down and doing your own thing, not worrying about what other people are doing.
If you know what you want to do, it makes sense to do it well. It can be problematic to branching out. It makes sense, but it hits me wrong.
I don’t like the idea of someone else telling me to stay in my lane. It’s especially with regard to writing. I have had friends who tried so hard to make a go of writing that they failed.
Neil Gaiman can write everything from picture books to books for adults, so why can’t I? I love that I can write about any old thing that comes to my mind, no one can tell me I can’t.
I think there is room for both a lane and a niche for writers. I might not have as many readers when I write about certain topics. I might not be paid as much. If I am interested in establishing myself in that lane, then that is okay.
Your lane is the topic or topics that you write about regularly and with authority. The key is to know where your lane is so that you can change lanes on your own.
If you are a new writer, you should ask yourself these questions. My non-fiction writing lanes are mostly for fiction writing. Online business, productivity, and the business of writing are also included.
What could you teach someone else? What do you like to do?
What do you do to learn? People come to you for help.
What topics did you read about last year? What do you love about it?
What do you think I can do? You can find your lane by posting it on social media.
If you have written a lot of posts on a broad range of topics, you should look at the analytic data for them. Which ones are getting the most traffic? Which ones are getting the most interaction from readers?
I am aware of it. It is going to be awkward. You are fishing for something. If you are brave enough, you will get some interesting responses if you can’t figure it out for yourself.
Did you have fun writing them? This is an important question, because it doesn’t matter if you’re not having fun. You probably wrote those posts in your lane.
Let’s say that one more time. The lane where you want to be is your lane.
If you don’t want to write about it, it’s not your lane. The lane where you want to be is your lane.
This goes for fiction writers as well. I know fiction writers who struggled to shift gears after finding success with their books. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re making money writing on a topic that you don’t like and your audience expects work from you on it.
The writers are in the back. The lane where you want to be is your lane. If that is not the lane where you are an expert. It is very difficult to get out of that trap.
Changing lanes are out of boredom. We are clear on that.
A writer starts to write about a topic they like. Some people write a few posts. Maybe they write an ebook. They may write a novel. They don’t get the traction they want. This is what I see most often.
They change lanes. There is nothing that goes viral. They don’t make any money. They self-published a flop. They don’t have an agent.
They don’t feel like this lane works for them the way they want it to. They begin writing on a different topic. There is nothing that goes viral.
The person is trying to get from point A to point Z, but they keep getting off at the first exit, and then going back to the start. They change lanes. This is the same thing.
After doing them so many times, their starts might be getting better. There is that. They are moving, but they are not actually making progress. They aren’t good at it because they aren’t sticking with it long enough.
He had the idea for The Graveyard Book for twenty years and had to wait until he was a good enough writer to actually write it. Neil Gaiman has written everything from picture books to adult novels. He was able to become a good writer because he stuck with something for a long time. Then he branched out again.
If you changed lanes with intention, instead of being impatient with how things are going, you would be better off. Changing lanes with intentions
Sometimes you add a new lane. You start out writing about the topic that you want to write about. You love the lane.
Writing middle grade is a lot like writing young adult. It is not crazy different. If they are related to the topic you are already writing about, they are called shoulders. I am writing in a shoulder lane if I write about marketing.
I want to write a picture book about a spider that lives outside my office window. Sometimes I write about my eating disorder. My parents-in-law have Alzheimer’s and I have to take care of them.
I write on those topics because I want to say something. I know that those posts won’t get as much traffic as those that I write in my lane. I don’t mind. Those are topics that are outside of my sphere of influence.
Taking a break from my lane keeps me sharp. When you write about something you don’t know, you might have to do research. You will have to think in different ways. That is good for your brain. Sometimes leaving your lane is beneficial.
It is fun. The rebel soul is fed by it.