I read somewhere that to write well, one must write what he or she knows well. It’s like simply saying, “You cannot paint in another person’s heart, if it’s not painted in your heart.” In short, you should at least have a substantial amount of background or basis for the topic you want to write.
In workshops that I facilitated in the past, I normally encounter aspiring and beginning writers asking me questions such as:
- What are the best topics I can write about?
- How will I stand out from the rest of the writers’ populace?
- Will there be room for me in ‘this’ industry?
Let me answer the first question with: Be the expert in the topics you write about or write for.
This is actually where my opening statement comes in. You cannot just write a topic without any knowledge or background on it. Oh yes, writers are good actors. Writers have the capacity to do some research and pretend. But, a written piece can easily be detected that it is an ‘honest-to-goodness’ fresh and original if the material or the manuscript has the ‘heart’.
If you write of something familiar—it is easier to write about it. No matter how many times your editor wants you to re-write a piece, it will not be too difficult for you. Shifting is no problem. Look at J.K. Rowling, she capitalized on the struggles she had and turned it into a best-selling series of novels—which made her ‘filthy’ rich.
Although one relevant theme is love, Rowling was successful in integrating it in the books she created. The elements of struggles, of challenges were the building blocks of her stories.
Then, find Your Unique Writing Voice.
Like a singer, you can easily point out who sang a particular song because of the voice, the style and all. It’s the same with writers.
If you want to find someone who’s funny, but writes from a Christian perspective, I know someone and that is Bo Sanchez. How I wish I can write like him, but I am not. I have a different perspective and a character.
No matter how I’d do my best to mimic his writing and write the same topic—my unique writing voice and his will still sound different.
Why is it? Bo has a different level of understanding about life, yes, I may have understood some, but my journey in life is far different from his, thus, making me a different ‘voice’. My truth is my truth, but it may not be Bo’s truth. You get what I am trying to say?
Key is, write from the heart and write from your life.
Lastly, once you have identified all two I’ve mentioned earlier, and then you can focus on your niche.
Remember, there are a lot of writers. You compete with a lot, more senior than you and more brilliant as opposed to you
Finding and focusing on a particular niche is the way to go.
If you want to earn from writing, you also need to be quick in terms of thinking. Think of genres that really, really sell. Hone yourself in that aspect.
If you believe you can pull off literary pieces, go ahead and do it. However, finding a niche is hitting great opportunities for you to be profitable. There are also things to be considered when finding a niche like: Do I really have the heart to do this and manage to live out such life—like that of an entertainment writer?
Back in elementary, I was already practicing to write for entertainment magazine-style. And then one day—I’ve realized I was drawn to it and I actually did it. I wrote for Star Studio magazine for almost two years.
To sum it up, all these things are your keys in achieving ‘that’ status of being a writer-at-large. Again, ask yourself with this: Am I really for writing? If not, it’s not too late to give up and shift your gears. 🙂