One of the oldest writing rules of all is to write what you know. There is some debate about whether or not this really works, especially when you consider editor demands and popular topic trends. But for article writers, sticking with things you know can be a good starting point for coming up with fresh ideas.
Things You Do
When you share your own knowledge about things, your everyday life can open up a whole new world in your writing. What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? Do you go for a morning jog, or do you drag yourself to the coffee maker?
When you put your writer’s glasses on, even seemingly simple tasks have the potential to become great how-to articles. Everyone wants to know how to get into better shape, so hearing about your morning workout routines could be the inspiration some readers might need. Of course, others might be more interested in the article you could write about how to make the best (and strongest) cup of coffee.
Find your niche, what it is you do best, and put it out there. If you are a web designer, write about anything from the look of a website to the programming of it. If you like to take pictures, give tips on how to take better photos.
It doesn’t matter what your specialty is, whether you’re a carpenter or PlayStation aficionado, somebody out there wants to know what you know. So write about it.
Things You Make
Another way to write about things you know is to let your creativity take charge.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Maybe you don’t have the time to write a full cookbook, but who said you couldn’t write an article about it? If you have enough recipes, you could start on that cookbook, or you could start a cooking website that focuses on your articles and recipes.
This applies to any special skill a person has. Similar to things you do everyday, things you make or things you create can cover a wide range of topics. I once taught myself how to knit, so an article such as “How I Taught Myself How to Knit” could be a good one to write. Anything can be turned into an article when you’re willing to step outside of yourself and see it from someone else’s perspective.
Things You Know
Writing about your personal knowledge on a subject gives writers free reign to tell how it makes you feel, what it means to you, and how it affects your life, good or bad.
“Have you overcome a handicap? Or live with someone who did? Do you have children? Why? Or why not? These are evergreens,” Nancy Davidoff Kelton writes in her book, Writing From Personal Experience. “You are not required to travel the world. Or have a wild and crazy life. You can mine what is near. And dear or not. You can write about a Christmas. Or snow. All experiences are material. It is about what you have to say.”
There is a reason the “write what you know” rule has been in existence for so long. It works. So, the next time you feel stumped in your writing, take a look around. You might be surprised how many things you actually know.