Anna's Alcove

Let's do life together!

Tag: career

What is your niche?

When you want to write for a website or guest blog, or even when you manage a website of your own, you need to have what is called a “niche.”

“What is a ‘niche,’?” you may ask.

The definition in the dictionary is as follows:

1. a shallow recess, especially one in a wall to display a statue or other ornament.
2. place or position (something) in a niche.

Ok, so to put something on display is kind of like showcasing what you know (so to speak). When a person knows a lot about a certain topic and is passionate about it (or at least very interested in learning more about it), they usually try to find a way to share it with the world.

When I started my blog for an editorial college class, I wasn’t sure how or when I would use it in the future. But then I started posting the articles I wrote as they were published in the school newspaper and moved on to writing about whatever came to mind, whether it be biblical, book-based or whatever inspired me to write.

That seemed to work pretty well at the time and helped to boost my readership as posts were published month to month.

Now comes the tricky part. I want to get into freelance writing, but most websites that are looking for guest bloggers/writers want us to declare a particular niche, a certain topic that we’re specialized in.

My husband sent me an article titled “The Surprising Benefits (and Pitfalls) of Being a Jack-of-All-Trades,” which talks about those of us who are interested and knowledgable about a variety of topics.

What was the solution?

“Take your time and pick a couple things to focus on.”

Just because you’re interested in a number of topics and activities doesn’t mean you can become a short-term specialist in that area. Pick a topic and start researching. Make that your hobby for several weeks or a couple months and see what you can learn.

DSCN3678Do you enjoy food? Then cook, take photographs, jot down notes of the things you changed in the recipe and write about it! Are you into photography? Then go out into the world and snap some pictures, research terms like “aperture” and “depth of field” and post it online with a short (or long) explanation about what you did for each picture. Enjoy playing with kids? Then write some tips about what you do to keep them entertained, healthy snacks that they’ll enjoy and educational games that enhance their thinking process.

There’s a world of opportunity out there waiting to be studied! The only thing that will make it stand out from similar posts on the Internet is by making it your own. No one can think like you do, see the world like you do, crack jokes like you do or explain an interest like you do.

I encourage you (and myself) to start becoming a short-term specialist in one of the many areas that catch your interest 🙂 Who knows… you may discover something you just can’t get enough of!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

And so the adventure begins…

Welcome to my new site!! Here’s the story of how it got started and my plans and dreams for what it could become in the future:

Everything was going fine and dandy. I had just married the man I love, we had a wonderful, relaxing honeymoon in the Poconos and, with both of our full-time jobs, we were well on our way to paying off debt by the end of the year.

But it didn’t last long. The week after the honeymoon, I was back at my desk in the newsroom, trying to make some sense of the hundred or so emails I had received,  when I was called into the conference room. There the head editor and my boss gave me the bad news: the company was downsizing again and they were forced to cut my position.

As any normal person would be, I was bummed that I lost my job and the steady income, but I knew in the back of my mind that God has an ultimate plan in all of this…

.. but it was nice having the extra money.

Anyway, after spending a week getting our house set up and wedding gifts put away, I took the first step of job hunting, applied for unemployment and registered my name, email and resume with two career search sites: JobGateway.com and Monster.com.

In order to get job openings that you may be interested in, the sites recommend setting up “saved searches,” which are ongoing searches according to your pre-set career choice and where you would prefer to work. I set mine to “administrative assistant,” “writer” and “editor” near Doylestown and Quakertown and selected the daily email alerts option.

DSCN2507This was a helpful tool. I get emails every day, letting me know if there are new opportunities to apply for jobs in the area, but there are days where there is nothing new.

It is now week three, I’ve applied to at least 10-12 jobs and have either been told that they’re looking at more qualified candidates or haven’t heard anything back from them.

Then I got to thinking – what if this is my opportunity to get my dream of being a freelance writer, editor and photographer off the ground? I already have a blog that’s been an off-and-on thing since I was a junior in college and my husband created a website for me (ta-da!) to use as a foundation for freelancing and photography.

There’s so much a person can do with a writing major, including editing books and articles for publishing, so I’ll be writing weekly updates on my journey toward a career in freelance, as well as other wonderings and ponderings about life.

As I discover what works, what doesn’t work and how to establish your writing in the world of freelancing, I hope this becomes a helpful resource to those interested in a career in freelance writing.

Thanks for reading!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

For I know the plans I have for you…

As I sat at a table in Applebee’s last Thursday, surrounded by at least 20 of my good friends from Awaken Young Adult Ministry, it was interesting to listen in on the various conversations that were happening all around me.

Some were making plans to hang out one more time before the summer ended, others were discussing their jobs and summer vacations and still others were talking about more serious topics, such as what God has been teaching them over the past week.

Yet, amidst the laughter, joking and animated voices, I noticed one underlying theme for each of these very different conversations:

What may be in store for them in the future.

Understandably, each of us like to have an idea of what’s coming our way so that we can be ready for it. In order to prepare for that future, most students in the U.S. graduate from high school and then make the transition to college in order to study various career fields.

It can be exciting and terrifying at the same time – heading out to college for another semester of classes and getting one step closer to earning that diploma and degree… but then the question is.. what’s next?

Let me tell you my story.

I had no idea what God had in store for me after high school. Coming from a homeschooling family, I didn’t feel like I completely fit in with the public school students and didn’t know where my place was in the adult world. So, I went with the money-saving plan of going to community college until I figured out which career choice best fit the talents that I have.

That’s where I fell in love with journalism.

After getting a bunch of my articles published on the front page of The Commuter (the college newspaper) and completing the necessary courses in order to earn my Associates Degree in Journalism, I was ready to figure out what college I should go to in order to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I felt like I was starting back at square one!

I prayerfully looked through the mountain of pamphlets and brochures that had been endlessly spewing from my family’s mailbox ever since I graduated high school and finally found a nice state college out in the middle of nowhere: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The best thing is that the college accepted nearly all of my credits and had the exact major I was looking for: Print Journalism!

This started the next chapter of my life in Edinboro, PA, and boy was that a crazy ride. Without going into every single detail, let’s just say many of the experiences I had during my time there really stretched my faith and helped me to figure out where I fit in ministry and how God can use little ol’ me to further His kingdom on a college campus.

Ultimately, my time at EUP allowed me to make my faith and relationship with God my own and discover who I am as a unique individual… who God created me to be.

Coming back home was bittersweet after graduating in 2012 and having to leave all of my new friends behind. I felt like, once I was home and back working at Red Robin again, I was just plugging along at life, wondering exactly what God had in store for me, and not really taking a step in either direction, whether good or bad.

This one verse kept popping up in my mind during this time and it really helped to cling to the fact that God’s plan will come to pass as long as we wait on His timing:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond
anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”
Isaiah 55:8-9

Also, the well-known passage:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

The bottom line is this: none of us can hurry or slow down God’s plans for our lives. He will fulfill it when the time is right and all we need to do is trust Him and rely on His guidance no matter how long or tough the road may get.

Easier said than done, right? That’s definitely what it feels like at times.

Like I said before, when I came back home, I wasn’t really sure what the next step was. Here I had my Bachelor’s Degree in Print Journalism, but no idea of where or how to even begin looking for a “big girl” job… and the motivation just wasn’t there. I was burned out.

Then, a crazy thing happened.

I took my laptop with me for our family vacation back in June 2012 (just on a whim, since I normally swear off electronics during vacations). The moment I logged on to check Facebook, I found an online message from my community college advisor (who I hadn’t talked to in a little over 2 years) and he alerted me about an opening at one of the major local papers. He told me that they were looking for recent college graduates and urged me to contact them as soon as possible.

I called the number, got a phone interview on the spot and set up a face-to-face interview with one of the editors for when I got back from vacation… and within the next couple of weeks, I was offered the job of News Assistant at The Morning Call in Allentown, which is only half an hour from my parents’ house!

It still amazes me how, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the task of trying to apply for jobs in my career field, a newspaper job dropped right into my lap!

And it’s different for everyone.

Some will land a job in their career right away. Others may have to wait a year or more before they get their chance. It may get super frustrating when doors keep getting shut in our faces, but in the midst of all this, we need to remember:

“Until God opens the next door for you, praise Him in the hallway!”

So, while listening to all of my friends talk about heading back to college and getting ready to start up a whole new school year, it’s exciting for me too, even though I’m not heading back with them.

Why?

Because I know that while the future may seem so uncertain now for them… there’s an amazing God behind the scenes orchestrating a plan that goes way beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed of! And I can’t wait to see what adventures He has in store for each of my family and friends!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

© 2021 Anna's Alcove

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑