A Guide to Writing About Unfamiliar Topics

By on September 22, 2017

As a writer, you probably have some fields you’re expert in and some field you don’t know much about it. Of course, sticking to familiar topics is a good option, especially if your writing career has just begun. However, this might lead to you missing so many amazing opportunities.

Sometimes, however, being assigned to write about unfamiliar topics is even not your own choice. Maybe your boss tells you to do so or your client suddenly asks you to write about something unusual.

Either way, this shouldn’t scare you much. Let’s be honest: not all the content online is written by people who are experts in the field. Sure, some of it definitely is, but the rest is usually created by writers who are able to quickly process and present new information.

You can become one of those writers too, feeling more confident when writing about new things. Here’s what you can do to achieve that.

1. Educate yourself.

When you feel like you should improve your writing, you take writing lessons. When you feel like you need to know more about the subject or two, you educate yourself. These days there are so many opportunities to gain new knowledge without even investing money in the process. You can start an online course, access an online library and read a few books, and so on.

Of course, it’s still impossible to master every subject even in that case. Even if you take each one of Coursera’s courses related to physics, for example, you can still be confused and clueless when assigned to write about something IT related. That’s why I recommend learning about different topics and focusing on one only when you are assigned to complete a long-term project about it.

Another important thing here is not to try consuming as much information as possible at once. If the topic is unfamiliar, you have to do it slowly, processing everything bit by bit to make sure you’ll remember it well.

2. Do proper research.

However, if you don’t have a long-term project ahead of you and didn’t have time to study the topic before, there’s still a chance to pull it off. I recommend focusing on the research – and by research, I mean not simply using Wiki and a few other sources you quickly googled.

If you have enough time, you are able to write the deeply-researched and completely reliable article simply by using the right sources of information. If the topic is scientific or simply serious, use online libraries and archives to dig for some sources. Check out social media – it might seem surprising, but actually many interesting articles and discussions can be found there.

Moreover, if you have the opportunity, talk to experts in the fields. Ask them questions, ask for their opinion, maybe even get some quotes to use later in your text. If you find it hard to contact the experts, then return to the social media and ask questions in groups related to the subject of your research.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should use all the information you found thoughtlessly. On the contrary, you have to double-check every fact to ensure that you won’t be making some mistakes not obvious to you but obvious to people well familiar with the topic.

3. Rewrite (but do it well).

Sometimes education or deep research aren’t the options. Both of them require time – and you don’t always have enough of it. In this case, rewrite is probably your only way out.

However, when I say rewrite I don’t mean simply rewriting the first article you’ll find. That’s not the right attitude and doing so won’t benefit you professionally. You can use someone else articles as a source of information, but even if you’re going to do so, you’ll have to do this the smart way.

If you read the articles and come up with your own one, which is based on them, this won’t look like a rewrite (of course, if it’s still written properly). If you add a personal touch to it, voicing your opinion and maybe even adding some personal data, this definitely wouldn’t look like one.

Basically, when you have to do such rewrite, you need to take the information you have and transform it into an original piece, changing as much as possible while keeping all the facts. It isn’t as complex as it might seem and there are plenty of tips online that could help you with that.

As you see, there are many ways to work with unfamiliar topics and to make the most out of your writing even if the process itself is challenging. I hope that this article will make this easier for you and wish you good luck with your writing!


Posting Rules/ Guidelines:

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *