“Write what you know” is a piece of advice all beginning writers hear. When I first started writing, I heard it all of the time. So much so, it kind of got on my nerves. But the truth is, it’s good advice. And eventually, I followed it.
Way back when, I was the advertising manager for a chain of hardware stores. My office, it so happened, was in the lawn & garden center. I had a lot of exposure to landscape equipment, landscapers, and lawn care issues, just by osmosis. One day, a magazine landed on my desk. It was called TURF.
So, I did what every aspiring writer is told to do. I wrote a query letter, which is an introductory letter to a magazine editor. I pitched a story idea and asked if the editor would hire me to write it. A few months later, I got a call from the editor at the time, David G. Cassidy, who to this day remains my dear friend. Some twenty years later, I still contribute to TURF.
This is not to say that writing for TURF was the sexiest assignment I ever received. But it launched my career. I wrote about something that I had exposure to, and as I learned even more about the subject, I got better at it. I liked it. It gave me the opportunity to meet with people who were passionate about plants and lawncare. Their offices were not in buildings but at some of the nation’s finest resorts, botanical gardens and golf courses. And those lovely places were where I met with them, interviewed them, and built a career.
For me, writing about golf and landscaping became my Avocado. It was something I’d overlooked. But eventually it became my niche.
So, aspiring writers, what are you overlooking? What’s the obvious element that could become your niche, your Avocado? When it comes to launching a writing career, “write what you know” is a good start.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.