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The best things you could ever write about

While I’m interested in a pretty wide range of things in this world, there are plenty of things that I’m profoundly not into. GI Joe & Barbie, Velveeta, heavy metal, comic books, hunting, skydiving, fruit cake and video games top the list.

Can you imagine if I had to write about them? Sitting down in front of the blank screen, I can imagine searching wildly for my muse to no avail – she hightailed it to a beach in Tahiti at the first mention of Toys-R-Us.

Whether you’re a marketing copywriter, a freelance writer, a blogger and/or a business owner, you will always be looking for good content, the next job and the mojo to write and make it good.

Of course, I understand the argument that the need for a paycheck might necessitate that we write about things we aren’t inspired by. But, really?  I’m taking issue with that concept.

What if I follow my interests and because these things light me up so brilliantly, I write so well that I get accolades for that work and then more of that same kind of work? What if it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I’ve written before about the fact that your energy comes through to your readers via your writing. That readers pick up on your writing emotions, even if they can’t really identify why they feel a certain way. So, if you write about GI Joe and don’t like him (or what he stands for or how he directs kids’ play into war and fighting), the reader will get that – no matter how subliminally. And let’s just say it won’t be the best ad copy we’ve ever seen.

If you’re a great or solid writer, it’ll be fine. But, don’t you want more than that? Don’t you want to be inspired, fed by your work creatively, satisfied, feeling good, making a difference with your words?

I do.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Ron Miller says:

    All true, but I’m willing to bet you could write some pretty damn good GI Joe copy if you put your mind to it. You’re a writer. Sure it helps to feel passionate about your subject, but is it essential? I’m not so sure. As a writer, I’m confident you could write about anything even if just for the exercise of proving you could.

    Last semester my teen daughter had a course in Politics and Government. The teacher set up a mock Supreme Court and had her argue a case she didn’t agree with where the court had ruled that it was OK for school administrators to block publication of certain content in a school paper. She is a fierce free speech advocate and disagreed with the ruling, but she had to argue on behalf of the school administration.

    She came home as charged as I’ve ever seen her about learning (since she was in Elementary School probably) and she said it made her think more clearly about why she believed what she did and in the end she concluded there are instances (where people can get hurt), it might be a good idea for school administrators to step in.

    I’m willing to bet if you had to write about something you didn’t completely love, you could do the same. You could place yourself in the position of the company that was paying you and find a way to get it done.

    Ron Miller
    By Ron Miller blog

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thank you for all of that! I know I can write about anything and do it well…my point is that it’ll be even better if I’m ‘into it’ AND why shouldn’t I do my dangdest to make sure that’s what I’m writing about? It’s the realization that I have a choice in my work, life, destiny…

  • Ron Miller says:

    True. You can pick and choose your clients and you don’t have have a board or stock holders to answer to, only yourself. It’s one of the simple joys of freelancing.

  • Mary says:

    Amen, Julie. I’ve been rather picky about what I write, and thus far, am not making much money. But I know that spending my energy on the kinds of publications and writing I’m looking to do will pay off in the long run. Thanks for the reassurance that I’m on the right track!

  • Moms At Work says:

    I, too, admire your writing and think you could write about anything!

    But. Tsk. Tsk. How could you not be into Velveeta?

    Food of the gods :)

  • Lisa Poisso says:

    It’s easy to write things off with a breezy “That’s not my thing” — but caring is what keeps us grounded and connected, what keeps us “real.” If I find myself defensively dismissing something, I try to turn it around: How can I make this about what I *do* care about?

    Take Barbies. (Really! Take them, take them all away!) I don’t care for them either, although my daughter most definitely does. So I rounded up samples from similar manufacturers, threw a review party and wrote up the results as an article. We all fell in love with the Only Hearts Club dolls! Now both my daughter’s friends and thousands of magazine readers learned about a top-notch alternative to Barbie plasticization … and we had fun!

  • Sandra Foyt says:

    I’m definitely that shaky writer who is still finding her voice, and who wouldn’t have the ability to plug something that I didn’t believe in. As it is, even when I’m passionate about something, it’s not that easy to convey my enthusiasm. Fortunately, on my own blog, I get to choose my subjects!

  • Anne Mayhew says:

    The key is to have the option to write about the fulfilling things in your life! I agree with all of you non interests except skydiving! What a high!

  • Barbara says:

    Great points Julie. I only like to write what I know about. Although if I had to write about Velveeta only one word comes to mind. Ew. ;)

  • Julie Roads says:

    I do like to write about things I don’t know about – love to learn – just would rather write about things I CARE about!

  • Rob Gokee says:

    There are many composers who fall victim to the same trapping. A great horror composer can easily get pigeon-holed into horror films, and lose the chance to work on a good drama or period piece. I have strengths and weaknesses in my composing; I’m stronger in drama than I am in comedy. But I force myself to seek out comedies in order to strengthen my writing, so that I can “even out” my skills. I don’t want to close myself off to any opportunity because of fear or complacency. Great blog, Julie.

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