The old adage “Write what you know” that you find in just about every book on writing that you’ll ever read is great. To a point. While it does provide you with a place to start, it’s also very limiting and monotonous.
So what should you write about? How about starting with what interests you? What have you always wanted to learn, or wished you learned more about in school? Document your journey as a novice on the subject. What did you learn that was unusually interesting or surprising? How do you feel about the subject knowing what you do now? It brings a fresh perspective to a topic, and allows your work to appeal to a much different audience than what has already been written.
Have you always wanted to be an expert on a certain topic? Make yourself one by creating your own study plan and documenting your progress. Devise your own syllabus, your own class, your own school, and at your own pace.
See what other people are talking about. Twitter is great for this, as is Facebook, You Tube, and local and national news. We are very fortunate to have the latest news and information right at our fingertips.
If you’re interested in writing a book, follow the bestsellers’ lists. Or check the major Publishing Houses to see what they’ve chosen to publish in the last year. Find out what kinds of books people want to read.
You could always write about your personal life as well. Dealing with depression, or aging parents, or divorce or the difficulty of child rearing? Tweet about it, blog about it, write personal essays… You’d be amazed at just how many other people are struggling with similar situations, and find comfort in your words and knowing they are not alone.
Even if you don’t sell what you’ve written in a month, or ever for that matter, you have now added it to your body of work. Every piece of information you learn, every subject that you study, just adds to your total repertoire. For now and for later.
There are two things in life that are guaranteed to never be a waste of time: learning and writing.