A friend told me last week, “you have to tell me how you find the words to write.” I was confused at first, I never thought about it as ‘finding words to write.’ In all actuality, when I write, it’s hardly ever because I am trying to find something. It’s quite the opposite, something has found me. Something happens in my day to day life that reaches out to me. As I am speaking to a colleague, working on a project, or lost in my own mind, situations stand out and ask to be written about. To me this is one of the easiest forms of writing. Unlike fiction, we aren’t coming up with anything. We aren’t inventing a story about wizards and dragons. We are writing about our work. The thing that consumes us for at least 8 hours a day 7 days a week.
Listen: Finding a topic
What really helps me come up with a topic, is to not try to come up with a topic. What we have to do is, be aware of our surroundings. Everything that happens around us has the potential to be written about. Every experience that we go through on the day to day can be turned into a lesson from which we can provide value to other people. We are not writing fiction. We are simply analyzing what is currently happening right now in our work. Every single topic on this blog came from my own work. You’ve heard the phrase “you learn something new everyday,” well that’s true for me, and when it happens, I write it down.
Analyze: Thinking about a topic
Once we have the topic, we can begin to analyze it. Take it apart, dissected the topic, look at it from a completely different perspective and see if it still holds. This exercise helps give the topic a direction and help make the point we are trying to drive, stronger. There have been times when I’ll start writing in one direction, and after further analyzation, I realize that the topic would make more sense if it was to be taken down a different path.
Write : Process of writing about a topic
It may seem like common sense, but our topics and analyzations mean nothing if they aren’t written down. No one will benefit from what we have to say if we don’t actually say it. There is no secret tip on how to sit down and write. We just have to sit down and write. Do it. We shouldn’t wait until we feel compelled to write, or inspiration comes. We don’t even need a topic or an analyzation to write. Often times we don’t even know what to write about until we actually write. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing on a topic and a new idea comes for another one. One time I was on the train and as I wrote I came up with 3 more article topics to write about.
Repeat : The more you do, the better you get
My first article was harder than my second, and my second harder than my third. With every word we write, we begin to find better ways to write, more ways we can elaborate on a topic, and new techniques to tell better stories. This is a continuous cycle. If the topic of an article was a car, the analyzation would be the road it drives on, and the act of writing is the gas that keeps it all going. Get started, just write.
Have you been holding yourself back from writing? Are you so caught up in the how? Why don’t you just start?