Deciding What to Write About…and Actually Writing It!
Apr 29, 2014
Customer Service Rep
Deciding what to write about is the definitive first hurdle in writing a novel, screenplay, poem, blog, or any other project that involves a specific plan for forging down a certain path. In fact, I had a rather hard time deciding what to write this blog post about. As a newcomer to novel writing, you may assume that the actual act of writing is the difficult part, and that the idea, the grand theme, is hardwired into a “true writer’s” brain, but the cruel, honest truth is that this process only gets harder as your writing career progresses. The who’s, the what’s, the when’s, and the how’s slowly begin to fall into place only after the decision of what you will be writing about is set into play. Here are some tips to deciding upon an idea that will empower and drive you to writing a piece you will be proud to share with the world.
1) What are your strengths as a writer? Do you have a certain affinity to fantasy, sci-fi, non-fiction, even?
Find a topic that you actually WANT to write about. I know, huge shocker.
Choose a topic you are passionate about and you won’t have to work as hard to get up the pluck to sit down and begin writing. Although, that brings me to the next tip…
2) Pick a topic that challenges you as a writer. Everyone prays for the times when the plot and nuance just pours out of you. Yet, the most satisfying relationships come from the challenge, the failings, and the trial and error that makes the journey so poignant. The blood, sweat, and tears show in the story, and make the hardships worth it.
3) Decide if you can do the research, or have the time, to write about a topic you may be passionately interested in, but not necessarily have the knowledge or experience to lean on for pertinent information. Maybe you have oodles of time to research, and maybe you have no time at all. This is an important factor in your decision to write about a certain topic.
4) Make a list of writers that inspire you, whose writing excites you, and motivates you. Use these writers as a blinder. This way you can dictate the type of book you absolutely DO NOT want to write. Or make a list of writers you DON’T want to write like.
Not because you don’t like them necessarily, but, referring back to tip #1, play to your strengths.
5) Much of the fear and procrastination stems from our very human fear of unacceptance. “Will they accept my book?”
“What if it doesn’t sell?” “What if I FAIL?” The great thing about writing, in any aspect, is that the more you do it, the more you put pencil to paper, or rather, fingers to keys, the more you will grow—personally, and professionally. The fear of failure is real, but the feeling of regret is far more lasting. Your story, whatever that may be, is worth telling.
Deciding what your work will be about is a huge choice. There are many alleyways you could venture down, but the most important thing is finding something you are passionate about and telling YOUR story. Best of luck!