The first piece of advice I received when I began my freelancing career was “Find a niche”. Pick an area or two to specialize in and promote yourself in those industries. For some writers, it’s financial blogging, or environmental journalism, or business to business copywriting.
In my work history I’ve done just about everything, from poetry, to websites, to high school curricula, to advertisements. How do you narrow it down? For me, it became a question of: What is my passion? What do I love to write and who are the people I love to work with?
From the first fundraiser I organized at age 10, I have been involved in the nonprofit world. Working to help others is addictive and fulfilling, and I am proud to have contributed in a meaningful way to making the world a better place.
My involvement with the video game and board game industries is more recent, but no less important. Designing games is a puzzle, sometimes frustrating and tedious, but always with a sense of progression and the knowledge that you are providing enjoyment to potentially thousands of people.
But what do these two disparate industries have in common?
1 – Passion
Those who work in nonprofits or who design games have a high degree of passion for their cause or their product. Whether you are listening to an Executive Director explaining a mission statement or a board game designer pitching to a publisher, the love and belief in their work is evident. It is the rare person who becomes rich in these industries, yet the passion keeps the work exciting and new.
2 – The Need to Stand Out
Both the nonprofit and gaming industries are competing for the few extra dollars and time the public has available. In addition, they are competing within their own industries. Out of thousands of charities, why would a person volunteer or donate to your cause? Out of thousands of games, why would a person choose to play yours?
Which leads to the last similarity:
3 – The Need for Quality Writing
Nonprofits, board games, and video games all have a story to tell. It is this story that will convey your passion and convince the public to support you or buy your product. In this era of potentially millions of choices, a well-written story could be the difference between indifference and sparking passion in someone else.
For nonprofits, that story could be written in grant proposals, on a webpage, or in brochures. For a game, the story could be written in a rulebook, as the game narrative, or on a Kickstarter page. But regardless of context, the writing in these industries needs to provoke an emotion and engage the reader.
And that is why I chose the nonprofit and gaming industries as my niche. Two industries where quality writing is important to success, where I can work with passionate people to help them achieve their goals.