“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” ~ Anaïs Nin
Original content can prove difficult, after all; people have been writing for about 5000 years. However, that only lets us know that although someone already wrote about a topic, no one has written from your unique perspective. Writers choose subjects for a number of reasons:
• We have an interest in the subject
• We are curious about the topic
• We want to research or learn more
• We are emotionally attached
We read and write about something because there is still an attraction and curiosity about the subject; we still want to learn or teach more.
I have always been curious. If a subject or topic interested me, I wanted to learn more about it. We are fortunate today that we can Google or Bing our way to enlightenment on any subject. In fact, we now can alert our phones to notify us if there are articles on topics we are curious about, without having to search ourselves.
Flipboard, with over 34,000 subjects, is a gold mine for writers. These articles give writers an opportunity to learn more about a topic, but just as importantly, see which perspectives coincide with ours, or if a particular aspect of the subject is under-reported and perhaps we could write an article to fill the void for readers. When we read articles by others, we should pay attention to:
- What are others writing about the topic?
- Are all perspectives adequately explored?
- Was the article well written?
- Did the article have good images, videos or other visuals?
- Do you think you could write a better article?
Curious, Researching or Avoiding Writing?
Studies on curiosity conclude that there is both good and bad curiosity. Bad curiosity for a writer is spending too much time reading or researching and not enough time writing. Another aspect is comparing. While all of us would like to present our information in the best possible manner, comparing ourselves to other writers can create one of the main reasons for writer's block - perfectionism and the fear of inadequacy.
I get emails and comments from other writers asking how I find a fresh approach to the same topic. Some days, I do get stuck, or think I've said it all. When I feel stuck, I remember that writing is my job, then I look to my Muse Board for inspiration or just a reminder. One of my favorites; prominently displayed and done in 36-point calligraphy, might inspire you to write through the blocks.
When you think a subject has been written about well, look to see if there are other aspects of the subject that are overlooked or under developed. That may just be a niche or category that needs your writing. Readers and writers are curious for several reasons. A reader may need information more from necessity than curiosity; however, curiosity and need drive people to find information online. What are people curious about; what do they need to know, and what is a relevant topic for you to explore? People are curious about:
- Other people
- Famous people
- Good food, good books, or good movies
- What is the market doing?
- Why does the economy suck?
- Why is the moon in Jupiter and how am I on the cusp?
- Why do we pollute the earth?
- Why does my faucet leak?
- What is love?
- What is my purpose?
- How can I write better?
This list could be an entire article. However, as a writer, you know what you are passionate about and that passion, interest and curiosity will come through to your readers, and they will start following your writing.
Satisfying Curiosity: The Health Benefits
When we are curious and researching for our articles, our brains are active. The brain releases Dopamine and Serotonin during this type of activity. These brain chemicals then register as a pleasurable and satisfying feelings. In addition, curious individuals lived longer than those who were content with their current awareness and labeled themselves as non-curious in a study of older Americans.
When we are curious about the topic, we view it differently. We take the time to look for the who, why, when, where and how of the topic. As writers, we can then capture the subject from multiple perspectives and add just the right element of new to any topic.
Then think about what grabbed your attention today, or what you were curious about - politics, news, weather, fashion, children or writing better articles. Any question that bubbles up in your brain will be interesting to someone else. These questions and topics are percolating in the readers mind right now; so give them the information they want to read from your authentic and unique perspective. For a writer, moving from curious to writing the article, ask yourself the following:
- Would even my friends put the article down as boring?
- Is it a fresh and unique perspective on the subject?
- Is it readable, enjoyable and informative?
- Do I have enough enthusiasm about the subject to write a good article?