Many beginner writers face the question, what should I write about? It’s understandable when staring at a blank screen to suddenly feel anxious about putting those first words down. It’s not the same as writer’s block which can happen to seasoned writers when they are burnt out.
Wondering what to write about stems from a fear of getting it wrong. Should I put time and effort into this particular topic or would a different one be better? All the topics I have in mind seem flat and uninteresting. How can I write about this topic when there are so many other pieces of work out there on the same subject? And so it goes on.
No Writing is Wasted
The first thing to remember is that no writing is wasted. The more you write, the better you become. So, it’s more important to start than spend hours trying to get the topic right.
If your writing seems flat and uninteresting then you probably don’t feel passionate enough about the topic. Perhaps you need a different angle? Writing on subjects you’re passionate about is much easier.
Your Writing is Unique
There will always be articles and posts on similar subjects. The thing to bear in mind is that your take on the topic is yours alone. Your writing is unique and you will word it in a different way to everyone else.
Think back to creative writing classes at school. The teacher set homework such as write a story about a day out at the seaside. There might be twenty children in the classroom but they would all produce different stories. Unless of course they cheated and copied their friend’s homework!
To get the words flowing, see if any of these suggestions help:
Sometimes called pre-writing or warming up. Some writers do this before every writing session. Set your timer for ten minutes. At the start begin writing and don’t stop until the ten minutes are up.
Don’t worry about mistakes, spellings or grammar, just write anything that comes into your head. If nothing comes into your head, write that down, ‘I cannot think of anything to write,’ just don’t stop. The idea is to let thoughts fall onto the page freely, without judgement. It can be extremely liberating.
Have a rant
Have a rant about something that concerns you. This could be anything from a day-to-day inconvenience such as parking to a global issue like food wastage. The point is, if you feel passionate about it, you should be able to write about it.
Many newspapers and magazines love opinion pieces like this, or it could be turned into a reader letter.
Hand write for a change
Writing on paper is a very creative thing to do and will give you the feeling of satisfaction at producing something tangible. It also gives your eyes a rest from the screen.
Get out and about
Go out for the day and then write about it. Was it a great day or did it end in disaster? Was it somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or were you dragged along to make up the numbers?
Was it more than you hoped for a great big disappointment? Write it all down.
Confessions are good for the soul
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? Or a particularly difficult time in your life. Write about it if you can bare to. You don’t have to show it to anyone but this type of personal writing can be very therapeutic.
If it is something you don’t mind other people seeing, there is a massive market for this kind of real life confession story.
Please do comment and let me know if you’ve tried any of the above, and how you got on?
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