Yesterday, we looked at your writing process, and the one big secret of professional writers: writing. Today, let’s look at some writing tips which will help you to write about anything.
When I coach writers, I often hear: “Yes, but I don’t know anything about that – I can’t write about it.”
Stop Waiting, Start Writing.
You can write about anything, but before we get to that, let’s talk about mini projects. These are small projects which you write for fun, during your spare time – the time you spend waiting around. If you’re a new writer, you’ll spend time waiting to hear about projects. If you’re an established writer, you’ll spend time waiting for clients to review your material, so that you can write the final draft, and send them your invoice.
In Write to Sell: 10 Fast Writing Sales You Can Make Any Day, we looked at many different kinds of projects, like reviews for example. Reviews are ideal mini projects. So are the other nine types of writing we looked at in the article.
Now let’s look at writing what you know, and what you don’t, because your mini projects will often involve writing about things you know nothing about.
There are two primary ways in which you can write about things you know nothing about: researching, and imagining.
“Write What You Know…” by Researching.
“Write what you know” is a common writing tip, and it’s fine advice, but unfortunately writers take it too literally. “What you know” includes anything you can research, and can imagine.
Let’s say that you’ve decided that you’ll write reviews as your mini projects.
Reviews are big business; there are many review sites online. However, for many small companies, reviews are VERY hard to come by. You can help these companies out, by researching their customers, and writing brief reviews. By “researching” we just mean speaking to the customers, and writing the reviews based on what they say.
One of my students has an excellent sideline in writing reviews. She interviews customers of many of her local businesses, writes short reviews based on what they tell her, and gets paid. She’s making over a dollar a word, because these reviews are valuable to the businesses.
Moreover, she’s hired regularly by local companies: she’s on retainer to write a fresh batch of reviews every three months. These companies have passed her name on, and now she writes reviews for companies which are thousands of miles away. She interviews companies’ customers over the phone.
By the way, these reviews aren’t fake. They’re genuine reviews by companies’ customers. The writer interviews the customers, so these are their opinions, put into review form by the writer.
“Write What You Know…” By Using Your Imagination (and By Researching).
When you write fiction, you’re often writing about things you know nothing about. I’m currently ghostwriting a series of historical romances for a client. I know nothing about life in Georgian England, but I can research, and I can imagine.
Writers of crime fiction, historicals, science fiction and fantasy are all writing based on their imagination, AND on what they research. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you may know that George R.R. Martin’s epic is based on his history research – the War of the Roses.
George R.R. Martin’s taken the saga of the War of the Roses, and its personalities, and has turned it into wonderful entertainment, by using the alchemy of his imagination.
You can do the same thing. You can write about anything. You’re writing what YOU know, by researching, and by using your imagination. Start writing. 🙂
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