I’ve been having some difficulty lately trying to get more writing done. The desire is there. I have ideas. Things I want to say. If anything, the problem, if I can call it that, is too many ideas. There are currently about six drafts waiting to be finished on my post page. New ideas pop up constantly. But, every time I sit down to write, I can’t decide which one to complete. What do I want this blog to say?

Is it a writing blog?

Is it about the life reboot I am making?

Is it about being a single dad? A parent in general?

Some combination of the three?

Obviously, conventional wisdom says I have to declare it. Stand on a table in the cafeteria and shout to the world “This is a [fill in niche] blog!” so that everyone can add it to the appropriate bookmark folder. Give it a name. Talk about it by the water cooler and claim “It’s my favourite [fill in niche] blog. I’ve been reading it since before it became big.”

In fact, almost everything I read about blogging these days, and that’s a LOT, lists choosing your niche as your first or second step. It’s causing headaches for me, and getting in the way of why I started this thing at all. To write. About whatever I want. Is a niche important? Sure, at some point down the road it might be. For now, I’m going nicheless. Totally nicheless…although I’m sure that no niche is likely a niche unto itself. It’s what all the cool new bloggers are doing. I am confidently choosing not to choose. Agnostic. I’m the “Coke or Pepsi is fine” guy.

The drafts sitting half resolved, half realized, half complete are about 3-4 different topics, and I’ve always stumbled on what should come next. Finger hovering above the keyboard asking myself “Does this fit my plan for the blog?”, when the question shouldn’t have required asking. Of course it does, because it’s something I want to say.

And, yet again, I’m confronted with the idea that everything – everything – goes back to my plans these days. Blogging? Choose a niche, and make sure everything fits in to that window. Career? Do something stable, and safe, and take the expected route to success and money. Everything has to be declared and accepted and, well, what’s been done before. You need to fall into a category. A neat little compartment that everyone can easily identify with and understand. If you’re a parent, you’re expected to have a standard job and behave a certain way. It’s your niche. Everything should reflect the fact that you are a parent. If you’re past a “certain age” (which I’ve mentioned before), you’re not meant to chase after a lifelong dream. That is not your niche.

I guess I’m tired of declarations. Of having to limit myself in any way to a particular blog post, or job, or action, or life. It should be open. It should be evolving. It should be fluid. Yes I am a parent. Yes I will write about writing. And changing your life. And being a single dad. But is that really all I get? Can I change my answer later?

I have been a student. A son. A brother, A husband. A father. A teacher. Some of these things, I still am. Others…not so much. Are we only allowed six on our list? When someone changes their list – their niche – through no fault of their own, we support and assist them, if not outright applaud them (“Laid off after 20 years with the same company, she’s trying a new career. Good for her!”). Why then, do we find it so odd when someone actually chooses a new one?

I am actively switching who I am because it has never really fulfilled me. Not my personality, but the niche.

My blog? Nicheless. My life? Changing. Evolving. Multiple niches, or none at all if you prefer.

What’s yours?


Bryan Johnston

Former high school English lit & drama teacher. Current writer, stand-up comedian, & improv performer. A big switch? You betcha.

International expat for 12+ years with stops in Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, & Guangzhou. Dad to a university sophomore, an eleven-month old charmer, & the two best doggos. Lover of funny things & people. Oh, and craft beer.

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