Subject Matter - Your Expert Opinion is Required

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 13th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2q3p1r2a/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

You may not believe me but I assure you that you are an expert on something. My father could plaster a whole wall in the time it takes me to fill a small hole, but at the same time I could make things happen on a computer he could never perceive. There is nothing to say one person's expertise is more important than another's.

The Subject of your Writing

Because every person has specific knowledge on subjects they have learnt at school, or related to the work they do they can always proffer an opinion or perspective on the best way to do something. In the modern world "How To" guides are among the most popular of topics for Blogs and writing outlets, even major publications, such as Forbes, have taken to publishing such posts. In truth anyone can write an advice column on such a topic, here are a few popular how to ideas:

  • How bees fly
  • Create a dish or recipe
  • Invest on the stock market
  • find bargains
  • Use a particular program or software
  • Start a small business
  • Maximise your pension investment
  • Build something

Truth is there are an endless possibilities here which is one of the reasons why it is the easiest place to start when looking for story ideas.

Review your own Expertise

Think about the subjects you know something about, write a list of everything you know something about, even something as mundane as changing the tyre on your car, because every topic on that list could be something you could write a story about.

As an exercise on thinking about ideas take out a piece of paper and write down the things that you know about and ensure that you include everything on it, from the most mundane to the most intricate, it does not matter whether you have ever written on the subject or not - the point of this exercise is just to create a brain-dump of things you know about, nothing more and it doesn't matter if you miss something. This list does not have to be orderly, indeed can be higgledy piggledy and randomly spread across the page, I normally use a piece of scrap paper to do this on, this can include sports that you have played or watch on TV, adventures you have gone on, professional interests, etc. as shown in this diagram

Once you have these items written down it is possible to identify:

  • Links between items
  • Things you have written about before
  • Work and non work subjects

Using Your Own Expertise

Once you have taken a first pass of the list make a second pass, using a different coloured pen (perhaps red). Look at each of the phrases jotted down perhaps a new idea will come to mind so add them to your page in addition you may be able to draw some lines between subjects to identify links (don't put too many lines in because that then becomes confusing). Also add a tick (or perhaps a cross) against the subjects you have written about in the last 3 months as these are the ones you may wish to avoid for the moment.

With this in mind you should now see some subjects that you could start writing about immediately and in doing so you could add a fresh perspective because either you have never tackled them before or you have not done so recently. Do you have a blank page any more? I think you should now have plenty of topics to choose from and plenty to keep you busy for a few weeks (the ones without ticks).

If you need to delve down deeper then place one of the words or phrases in the centre of a fresh piece of paper and brain-storm around that idea and see what else pops up, chances are you will find several new ideas, which on their own could become separate topics for future stories. Here is another thought, if you have tackled a subject from one angel then tackle it from the opposite viewpoint.

Only Just Learned it! No Problem.

In many respects the training course you attended last month can become fertile ground for story ideas - I am not talking about copying the training manual (that would be illegal) - but it is possible to repeat some of the lessons from the perspective of your own personal experience. It has also been suggested that those who have just learned about something are often the best people to teach it to others about it, the reason being they have not yet had time to develop the level of cynicism that is frequently associated with the person who has been using it for a while.

Writing About Alternatives

Conventional wisdom often says that there is only one way to achieve certain tasks, but often people find alternative routes to success. Just imagine for a moment you taste a delicacy offered by a friend, some time later you think about how to make it and of course you do so based on your own knowledge and experience, now after two or three attempts you find something that is very close. It is often necessary to go beyond conventional wisdom in order to take the next step with anything worthwhile. That alternative approach is something that happens frequently in life may be something you wish to write about.

This is one of the reasons why scientists on opposite sides of the globe make simultaneous discoveries because they are following similar lines of thought and the route to success is not always along a straight line, sometimes it is necessary to make a great leap and at other times it is about retracing their steps.

What Unique Perspective can you Offer?

A friend spent a large portion of his life working as a consultant for some of the world's largest corporations - at one time they were the only people that could afford the types of solutions he specialised in implementing but as time has moved on there have been many changes in the industry, but his parents were small business owners. Today he writes industry based advice, but many of the articles are specific in looking at the needs of small business owners and how they can leverage that technology.

Each writer brings their perspective with them and this is especially important for factual stories where information has to be laid out for the reader in a way that makes sense, it needs to be more than a list of facts and this is where personal expertise comes to the fore, sorting out the good from the bad. In addition personality is such a vital ingredient for successful writing, you are not simply relaying a collection of facts, you are leaving a part of yourself in the story.

More on Story Ideas

More ideas on the subject of generating story ideas can be found on on writing blog 2 Drops of Ink, which is co-authored by S.W. Biddolph, Marilyn L. Davis, Peter Giblett, Lisa Edwards, and Lidia Oyetunji.

Picture Credits

The picture used within this article have been sourced from different locations, these are:

  • The Working Bee
  • Writing Topics Part 1 & 2 by Peter Giblett
  • Just learnt it by Green Street (royalty free image collection owned by author)
  • Got the tools y IMSI (royalty free collection)

More by Peter Giblett

Peter Giblett regularly publishes here on Wikinut and contributes a semi-regular column on 2 Drops of Ink, a site dedicated to the improvement of writing, grammar, and prose and his own blog called GobbledeGoox. Recent works on Wikinut include:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Brain-Dump, Coloured Pen, Creative, Expertise, Knowledge, Non-Fiction, Opinion, Opposite Viewpoint, Perspective, Subject

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
14th Jul 2015 (#)

You're so right! And, the benefits of folks writing about what they know is that the Internet has become a place of learning. Answers to questions from every possible perspective, viewpoint, or experience can be had online. Knowledge can be had in the way readers want to receive it, departing from the particular perspective of a professor, instructor, or trainer when learning takes place from only one source.

Self learning from the Internet is where education is going. A pigskin from so-called reputable universities will go the way of the dinosaurs. Such learning starts with every one of us posting our expertise, experience, and passions online on sites like this one. Because you're right, Peter. Everyone is an expert on something.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Jul 2015 (#)

Thank you LeRain, I hear so much about people facing writer's block but there are many things they can do to resolve it and personal expertise is one of the best things to turn to.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
14th Jul 2015 (#)

Peter, this is an excellent article. It is true that everyone is expert at something. I love the way you presented this article. I learn so much on the internet. I usually write make believe but I love reading about history, science, space, and just recently the Sahara desert. I find that writers share very interesting articles and if I learn something from them I try to always let them know. I've learned a lot about writing from you and I have a list of people that have taught me a lot of things I never learned in school. This is truly a star worthy page. Thank you for sharing it.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Jul 2015 (#)

Nancy, too many people spend too much time putting themselves down, but there are things you can do that I can't - it is a simple fact of life. We should all learn to share that expertise.

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author avatar Deepizzaguy
14th Jul 2015 (#)

I like to write stories of inspiration and hope about cartoons, sports or movies that I watch on television or on DVD. Thank you for sharing these tips in this article. It uplifted my spirits.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Jul 2015 (#)

I am delighted to share.

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author avatar vandana7
15th Jul 2015 (#)

You just helped me with something. I tend to have too many points clogging up my brain, and sequential flow of the content changes. I am bookmarking this page so that I read this and try to follow your suggestion to improve on my writing. Thank you. :)

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Jul 2015 (#)

I have been like that in the past which is why I adapted the brain-storming techniques used in the workplace in order to help me think of things to write about. Glad to help.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Jul 2015 (#)

It is best to share from our hearts. Online sites may not be the place to write on highly specialized topics. I have found fulfillment in receiving support and that is the motivation to keep my eyes and ears open to share further. .
Thanks Peter for the tips so that our well of topics never runs dry - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Jul 2015 (#)

There is always another topic.

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author avatar snerfu
29th Jul 2015 (#)

Even I like scribbling on paper and very often something good results. Good article about how to tackle the matter of deciding what to write about.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Jul 2015 (#)

Thank you.

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author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2015 (#)

This is truly informative and extremely useful. Thanks for the tips, Peter.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
10th Sep 2015 (#)

No problem Joyesh

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