Before we jump into this blog post, I would just like to apologise once again for my absence. I’ve had an unexpectedly busy couple of weeks and have had no time to sit down, write posts and edit photos, but now that my schedule is much more flexible I am excited to not only get back to posting on a regular basis, but also catching up with all of your blogs!
Anyway, while I have been away I thought a lot about blogging and where I want my blog to go in the future, as well as some of the things that many bloggers struggle with despite all of the positives that come out of being in this community. One of these struggles, and one of the questions every blogger undoubtedly asks themselves, is whether or not to have a niche.
I understand that this is quite an ambivalent topic. Some people love niches as a way of sharing their expertise on a particular topic and building a career in a very specific industry. I mean, the phrase ‘the riches are in the niches’ exists for a reason. But for people like me, who do not blog for ‘the riches’, they can prove to be tiresome and restrictive, preventing our creative potential from flourishing. Hence, this is nothing other than my perspective – us bloggers come from a variety of backgrounds, each one of us carries a different purpose, and what we bring to the world wide web reflects a complex interaction of such factors.
Back in August, when I decided I wanted to give blogging a go, I spent several weeks agonising over what my page was going to be about. And I am not going to lie, my initial solution to this dilemma was ‘health, fitness and wellbeing’. I read various articles which all emphasised the importance of ‘picking a niche and sticking to it’, that I decided no other option existed. However, after I launched the blog I was overcome by thoughts such as ‘wait, what happens if you ever want to talk about education?’ ‘what if one day you feel confident enough to share some of your poetry?’. Long story short, within days I’d realised – a very narrowed down style of blogging, for me, is just not sustainable.
Sure, I blog about food and fitness a lot because I am knowledgeable about those topics and have a desire to help people who are interested in living a healthier lifestyle. But I do not think I could ever label myself a ‘health and fitness’ or a ‘food’ blogger. Much of this has to do with ‘first impressions’.
(Why do I look so cheerful in these photos lol I swear that I am a much happier person than they may suggest)
Let me elaborate: when I first meet new people, I have a tendency to earn myself a reputation as ‘the vegan girl who goes to the gym’. Why? Because these traits are easy conversation starters for someone who is a novice at the art of social eloquence. While coming up with the ‘central point’ of my blog, food and fitness sprung to mind as these happen to be the simple, refined categories which, to many people, define who I am.
But do I wish to perpetuate this? Absolutely not. I’ve always fallen victim to stereotypes and assumptions. And I’ve had to work damn hard to break them down. To show people that I am Maria, not just ‘the healthy vegan’, ‘the nerd’, ‘the Russian who doesn’t drink’. Once people get to know me, they realise that food and fitness are but a fragment within the scope of my identity. I am a writer, I have an endless passion for history, I have accumulated a multitude of stories and experiences in my relatively short life. I mean, I have frequent existential breakdowns because I am far from knowing exactly who I am, and where my life is heading, but I do know that it is rather multidimensional. This is not to say that people who choose to blog about a single topic are shallow in any way, as the ‘depth’ of one’s character is a social construct, but I know of several health and fitness influencer who have acknowledged how those topics quickly exhaust themselves before moving onto covering the other dimensions of their journey through life, such as emotional wellbeing, entrepreneurship, financial stability.
Ultimately, I want my blog to reflect my personality and if that means departing from the constraints of a niche from time to time, that is okay with me. It will make my corner of the internet a much more lively and diverse place, a place to which I will consistently return to share, teach or just write. Instagram is a different story, because food is something I can photograph better than other things, but as I wonder the globe a bit more over the next few months I might break into travel photography and switch up my content on there too.
At this point, I’ve realised that something I wanted to be a thoughtful discussion has turned into an incoherent ramble, but I guess the main point of what I am trying to say is this: if you want to have a very specific niche, you should feel empowered to pursue this. Regardless of what the purpose of your blog may be. I, however, want to give myself some room for manoeuvre for the reasons stated above. There seems to be a multitude of unspoken rules attached to being an online content creator, but ‘unspoken’ is the key word – the extent to which we wish to break them is entirely up to us.
Once again, sorry about the rambly nature of this post, and more importantly, for the inconsistency of my blogging schedule. Seeing as I am trying to get my mojo back, feel free to leave any suggestions for what you’d like to see more of in the comments, and of course, let me know your thoughts on this topic – what do you think about blogging niches? Do you have one yourself?
Thank you all for sticking by and for leaving such lovely feedback on my content – I could not appreciate it more! You are all amazing.
Lots of love, Maria ♡