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How to know what to write about

Updated on April 28, 2012

Writing is, in many points, like all other jobs: it needs competence and hard work. But, in many other things it is dissimilar to all other jobs as it can be. First of all, let us start with similarities:

a.) Competence: all jobs need some level of competence for doing it. Not anybody can write, an people saying that “if writing can get you rich, then everybody would do it and we would all be rich!” are people who might be illiterate, but mostly those who do not know what writing is about. Not many people do get rich from copyrights, but if you are good enough, who knows – someday you might succeed. Anyway, not everybody is competent to write – you need to have at least some education, creativity, inspiration, and yes, many writers do pass through many rejections until they succeed. But, most important is, that when you get rejected, you continue writing because you love it, and some day you might get approved. If you do not like it, or outright hate it, it is not for you. Not everybody can be a writer as not everybody can be a good salesman, an automechanic, a statesman…

b.) Hard work: At least two hours a day are needed every day. Not to mention that period of time which you spend on inspiration or gathering information – it is the most time consuming operation. Many good writers spend months just reading about some topic, then maybe weeks on getting inspiration and writing things down and finally they work hard on typing it and polishing it. That’s why books like “A Song Of Ice and Fire” are so good, they are the very extract of writer’s hard work over years! Take your time gathering information, getting inspiration and then do not hesitate to write and polish your literary works! But, if the inspiration lacks then writing will not be very valuable and that is when we come to second part of this hub and that is

In what points writing is not similar to other jobs:

a.) Constant self development is crucial: Mentally standing in place or regressing is bad for anyone who does some creative work. Being a worker at a factory, you can afford yourself a luxury of mental stagnation – you have a task to be done and when you do it you are free to go and watch TV and drink beer for the rest of the day. But that stagnation is not available to an independent writer whose earnings and career depend fully on his work and himself.

b.) Inspiration: Sometimes, weeks of growing inspiration are spent before even engaging into work. If you are, for example, a creative writer, you need to let your experiences sink in and become your inner experiences, live with them for a while and then compose a story or an article.

c.) Unsafe earnings: Especially if you are working as an internet writer, and your earnings are not determined by contract (i.e. you do not have a fixed job for a salary) you put yourself in much risk. But when you make your growing list of clients, it gets much safer, but don’t get lazy – ever!

d.) Topic is ever-more specified: Writing job is like the crown of all jobs. Especially creative writing. You must choose your topic and it must go well with your level of expertise since there are many other people there who know about that topic more then you. But that is not the most important thing – not everybody can write about anything because some things suit some people more than others. If you like writing about economy, then you must even specify what do you write about it – not anything can pass for you and the readers. If you are, for example, a security guard, you do not need to make much choice will you work in a café that plays this or that kind of music. Yes, the security guard job needs competence but it is not as refined as writing is, and they do not have to make subtle choices like writers do.

So, how do I know what to write about: First, determine your competence – are you educated enough to write on a specific topic. Then, be well aware and repeat to yourself that it will need hard work and that earnings will not be instant. Then form a broader circle of topics in your head, and after that start narrowing the circle, picking the topics which are you most competent about or which interest you at the moment. The imagined circle needs to be narrowed until you find a specific topic which suits you the best at the moment. Then, get to work! Even if your topic is not the happiest solution at the time, your working on it will reveal that – then you pass to the nearest one, or, if it proves good, you continue working on it. Many times, the very act of working on a topic itself revealed the right path for the writer, and thinking or overthinking something are always getting you on a sterile path.


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