Writing Articles — Don’t Restrict Your Topics on Past Experience

Posted on January 22, 2011


It’s not unusual for writers to pigeon-hole themselves into specific topics and not venture beyond what they’re jobs were in the past.

I have to say, though, that when I ventured out beyond the borders of my past expertise, I gained new experience that eventually resulted in expertise in a new field.

When I first started writing, I was only well-versed on certain IT topics. I didn’t think I had experience writing on anything else.

At that time, I never saw any job ads for technical writers, so I reconsidered my background and what type of writing would translate into the current writing jobs available.

Once I sat down and listed all jobs I’d worked, I was able to come up with a whole list of topics on which I could write and in which I could note experience.

For instance, as an IT project manager, I managed large budgets, so business finance was another topic on which I could write. I also produced web content for the company’s portal on a variety of topics and developed training documentation for the enterprise.

That experience and more that I discovered in my background help me broaden my perspective as to topics on which I could write. I started applying for writing jobs on the subject such as personal finance, tax, legal and real estate.

The wonderful thing about writing for companies like The Content Authority, eCopywriters, wiseGEEK, Demand Media Studios and Break Studios is you can gain lots of experience writing on any topic under the sun. These companies provide writers with a varied list of titles from which to choose, and the writers select the titles on which they want to write. Writing about topics on which you are not well-versed gives you the opportunity to learn more about the subject and become an expert on it. It may stretch you a bit, but it gives you broader writing experience and may set you up for better-paying writing gigs. It did for me.

Demand Media Studios suggests that writers do not write about topics on which they are not familiar. If you are able to find excellent sources with thorough information on the subject, there is no reason you cannot extract quality information and develop a new article out of it. Find online sources with .edu or .gov extensions. They are the best sources for factual and thorough information.

Some state and county websites end in .org or .com. Whatever you do, make sure to use only reputable sources and don’t write on a subject unless you can find TWO reputable sources that agree with each other if you cannot find government sources for all your information. Stay away from using information you find on a blog.

Also, don’t stretch yourself too far when selecting topics on which you are not familiar. Choose topics in which you’re interested. You can learn something while writing them and earn money, too. I stay away from topics that I know will be too complex for me. For instance, I avoid titles like “How to Repair a Carburetor” and “Writing VBA Macros for MS Word.” It would take too much time to learn either and I am not really interested in the topics.

How did you grow your writing expertise, and how do you determine on which topics you will write? I’d love to hear it and think it would help our writing community.

Posted in: Writing Tips