When Your Niche Picks You

Writers, bloggers especially, want to have specific niches. That’s how we identify and build our tribes. It’s how we know who our readers are and how to connect with them.

Usually, you pick your niche. Sometimes though, your niche picks you. You may not want this to happen. 

You may want your niche to be homeschooling because you like to homeschool. You may want your niche to be adoption because you advocate for orphans and forever families. You may want your niche to be women’s ministry because you spent years studying that field.

You may not want your niche to be the one area in your life you struggle with the most. The area you are still trying to understand. The area God is using like sandpaper to refine you. The area that causes you to be the most sensitive, raw, and insecure.

Of course, it’s also the area where you do the most research. Where you get asked the most questions. Where you may (if your research leads to answers others don’t want to hear) get the most criticism. When you get asked to guest post, it’s on this topic. When a friend hears of someone else with the same issue, you immediately get an email or a text asking for your help, advice, or prayers.

Maybe, you try to run away from it and write about lots of other topics. But you keep getting requests. You keep learning more. And if it isn’t your whole life, it feels like at least 51% of it.

Maybe, you realize you’ve built a tribe just by being honest about the one area of your life that’s the hardest to be honest about.

Your niche has picked you.

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A few weeks ago when my e-book Speechless was free on Kindle, 20,265 people saw updates from my Speechless Facebook page thanks to readers sharing, commenting, and liking updates. I’m not sure I can even wrap my head around that number.

The book is about my son’s autism and the spiritual journey his diagnosis took me on. It’s my rawest area. Writing that book was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’d like to put it behind me and say, “Well, that was therapeutic. Let’s do something fun now.”

But around the book has grown a tribe. A community who loves and supports each other. Who teaches and encourages. Who rejoices and mourns. It’s my tribe. My community. My niche.

I didn’t chose to be “the autism lady.” But I am James’s mom, and autism is a huge part of our story. And according to the newest stats, it’s a huge part of the story for 1 in 50 children between the ages of 6 and 17.  That’s 1 in 50 moms and dads who need a tribe. Who need hope.

I’m not saying I’m only going to write about autism. That’s not 100% of who I am or where my interests lie. But, it is more of my life and interests than I’ve been devoting to it. And my community deserves more.

So, my husband Lee and I are excited to announce we are currently writing a Bible study for special needs parents that will release this fall. The working title is Held. We hope to communicate the comfort we have in being held by Him, no matter what. 

We’re excited and nervous. Raising kids together is one thing, but writing a book together? That may prove to be tougher. But this is our niche and we’re honored to serve our tribe. We believe by serving our tribe we are also serving God and affirming that autism is a good and perfect gift from Him.  We would appreciate your prayers as we write, and as always, thank you for reading my words, no matter what topic brought you here today.

10 thoughts on “When Your Niche Picks You

  1. Sandra – I have such a story here. It’s the story of the MOB Society. I was ready to write a different book, focus on a different story. But every time I try the Lord brings me back. It’s what people come to me for. It’s what I get asked questions about. And even though I never really tried to describe myself as an expert on the subject of raising boys, I think that’s how people see me. Or at least they see me as the boy mom who will get real about her mess…I don’t know which one 😉 But your story today really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. This post is very encouraging. I wrote a book about my 15 year journey with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility. I’ve also started blogging to encourage women through hard times regardless of their situations.
    Those 15 years I walked that lonely road were incredibly difficult and writing about them caused me to relive the experience, but when God calls you to do something, you do it. I didn’t choose that battle, but if I can help someone else fight it, I’m willing.
    Thanks for your post. May God bless you on your journey of writing a Bible study. I have a cousin who is autistic and needs constant care. A Bible study would be incredibly helpful to my aunt and uncle who are age 70 and care for him 24/7.

    • I’m so thankful God is using your story to minister to others and for your faithfulness!

  3. This? Yes. So thankful you opened up the raw parts and invited all of us in with you. Cannot wait for the book!

  4. Typing through tears (big surprise, I know). I am so excited and this is so perfect and I see God’s hands all over it! I just told your husband on Sunday night that you two are God-sized dreamers and I see evidence of it here again.
    Praying for you two,
    Nikki

  5. This was such a great post. You’re so right. Your niche does often find you. I’ve seen that recently. I’ve always been the girl who lost her parents when she was young. Now I’m the woman who lost her parents and now is a parent. I’ve been connecting with so many women over what its like to mother when you weren’t mothered. Not where I want my niche to be if I am honest because who wants to not have their mom alive and with them? It is however what God has done and how He is showing up most in my life and growth and my story, His story in my life. Thanks for the encouragement to embrace that and lead my tribe well. So excited to share your upcoming book with folks!

    • Love your phrase “His story in my life.” Praying for you friend and how God will continue to use your suffering for His glory.

  6. I’m so glad God put your two into that niche, and FGSA is such a powerful book. I recommended it to 3 new women just this past weekend. Can’t wait to see the study, and I want to be on the list of people to share it! I know one church that is ready and waiting for a study like that!

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Julie! And thanks for sharing my book!

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