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Write What You Know: Article Writing

Updated on June 13, 2017
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Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the Punksters comic strip series.

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There are writers and then there are article writers. They are not necessarily the same thing. Sure, both have to be able to form coherent sentences but they operate in a completely different way. Even so, they often tell writers of any sort to "write what you know." I, however, am going to narrow things down to apply specifically to article writers.

Even regarding article writers, you could have a number of different types. Most specialize in certain subject areas and they are usually ones that they know well. Sometimes they will venture outside their comfort zone and write about a subject that they don't normally cover. That will usually involve some more research than they would normally have to do when writing about the subjects they are more familiar with. That obviously involves more work.

Now I am not saying that we should be lazy as article writers, however, you may already have a great deal of knowledge at your disposal from which to draw article ideas from. Often, we overlook some of the things that we have at our disposal.

For example, what life experiences can you draw from? There are obviously many different types of articles you could write. If you have a wide variety of life experiences to draw from, then you should use them for article ideas. You could draw from funny experiences, sad experiences or something that occurred in your life that may have changed your perspective on things. Many stories of that nature could prove to be interesting or entertaining. Maybe even enlightening to others.

We often think about someone who writes articles as being an expert in the subject about which he or she is writing. Many also believe that the article writer should have significant credentials in order to have sufficient credibility regarding the subject contained in the article. But do you really have to have a college degree to be able to adequately convey reliable or helpful information to others?

First of all, life experiences are often unique to each person. Your life experiences will vary significantly from the experiences of others. Well, that could be subject matter for articles. You don't need a degree for that. Also, your life experiences could bring about insights that could help the people who have not had them. Bringing perspectives that others would not have.

Even if you are not someone with "credentials" like a college degree, it does not mean that you won't have enough knowledge regarding a certain subject to be able to give reliable advice to others. As an example, you don't have to be a mathematical genius to know that 2+2=4. But not every child knows that 2+2=4. So informing a child of such a thing means that you have some information that is of use to someone.

Okay, so maybe I broke things down quite a bit in order to make a simple point. But the point is that even if you are not what is considered the world's foremost expert on something, it does not mean that you have nothing of significance to offer to anyone else.

Now we get back to taking inventory of what you know for the purpose f writing articles. We have already discussed your life experiences and we have already discussed the fact that you don't need to be the world's foremost expert on a subject. When taking inventory of what you know, consider everything.

What I mean by considering everything is that you make a list of everything you know something about. You could even have three lists that you generate from doing so. One list could be of the things you know a lot about. Another list could be some things you know a moderate amount about and a third list of things you know just a little about.

After you compile those lists, work on the subjects you know the most about and are most comfortable with. After you start churning out articles, go to the list of subjects you know a moderate amount about. Then, eventually, you could work off of the list of subjects you know just a little about.

The reason I suggest doing it in that order is simply because, over time, article writing will become easier for you. As it becomes easier for you, you will be able to go outside of your comfort zone and writing about those subjects you know less about will be less intimidating. At that point, you might only have to do just a little bit of research to cover those less familiar subjects.

One thing that I am now able to do that I was not always able to do is actually sit and create an article off the top of my head. I sit down and write an article in one sitting. I don't have to pause for a few hours and come back with new ideas to add to the article. I have gotten to the point now where I can write an article in one sitting off the top of my head.

Now, I am only able to do that with subjects that I am significantly familiar with. There may be other subjects that I am less familiar with that may cause me to pause and look it up real quick on the Internet for verification of some things that I am not completely sure about.

Article writing is something that you will get better at over time. It's just like any other form of writing in that sense. They say if you want to improve as a writer, just write. I have found that to be a very helpful tidbit of advice and also to be quite true.

So, to put it simply, you know more than you think you do. So writing about what you know should not be a problem. You just need to itemize what you know by making a list of the subjects you think you could adequately write about. You just have to know what it is that you really know. Make those lists and you'll probably see that you know a lot more than you thought you did. Then you can write what you know.

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