Writing is a great challenge for many people even to write about subject matter that is familiar to them.
A good writer will from time to time be asked to write beyond what they know. This was inspired by a great article, written a couple of years ago, by writer Marilyn Davies. Sadly I am unable to find the original post — so a link is no linger feasible. My purpose today — to add something to this piece and make the thoughts more powerful. The challenge she faced: a request to write about a subject she was unfamiliar with.
Writing about what you know almost becomes second nature. Indeed blogs tend to force the writer to specialise. It is the nature of the beast, once you have become a serious writer and have chosen to regularly contribute through a blog, professional journal, etc. Yet the need to stretch the limits are always there.
Like a zoologist being asked to discuss botany. Of course they know something about the subject, because they know animals eat and interact with plants. Because of their knowledge of animals and their habitats they should know something about the related plant-life. Their knowledge focuses on a different aspect. However, arguably it is still valuable.
People make new discoveries all the time. To make them it is essential to think differently. Sometimes it takes a specialist from one background to change something in another area of knowledge. They apply what is to them common-sense to their discipline may become a revolutionary step to another. A logical choice for one person is a leap for another.
A meteorologist made a suggestion that led to the discovery of plate-tectonics, the cause of the motion of the continents.
There are many subjects where specialist knowledge is not required. Anyone can write a review about a product they purchased without having any specialist knowledge of the product. How they use it becomes the sole expertise needed. It is not rocket science. But talking of science — you don’t have to be a scientist to have a view.
Beyond What You Know
Most factual writers bring with them experience from their past careers. Mine is as both an Information Technology and Business executive. I also went to Law School, intending to become a lawyer. I bring those skills and knowledge to my writing career. What drove me to start writing was an ability to explain technical things in plain English.
A writer knows how to use words because they use them all the time. Marilyn Davies is an addiction specialist, which is largely what she wrote about, until one day being asked to write about writing, the rest is history…
Going beyond what you know is about looking at other subjects and leveraging what you know to push the boundaries.
Other Work of Interest
- 8 Things Blog Writers Must Know about Copyright
- Few People Care about Knowledge for its own Sake
- Can I teach you Everything I Know?
- First Time Writer — “I want to know if I can write”