Stretching is Good: Why You Should Write About What You Don’t Know

Good writers can write about anything….really. If you’re good with words, you’re good with words. Those who are good with numbers live in an analytical realm that I can’t even visit without a calculator. And even then, I need directions. But words I can do … even when I write about numbers.

But, what about the old adage, write what you know? It’s true that great writing happens when we write about something that stirs our passions. But, truly, if you can write, you can write. Even if you’re not completely comfortable on a particular subject or style of writing, generally, with a little research you can figure it out.

As a freelance writer, I work for a variety of clients who have specific and diverse copy writing needs. From blogs to web content, articles and scripts, my versatility assures clients that I can do their job, and do it well. In the corporate world, my writing voice was defined by the company brand, so I was somewhat limited. As a freelancer, the complete opposite is true. I am challenged with stretching the boundaries of my comfort zone every day, which is pretty exciting.

Just know that extending creative boundaries without stretching first can be painful … and embarrassing. If you’re writing about a subject that’s new to you, do your research and practice a few times. And use a spotter … someone whose opinion you value to read over your draft and offer constructive feedback before submitting it to your client. Good writers can plunge into a topic and appear as though they know the subject inside and out. If you truly have no knowledge or experience on a particular topic, try writing from the perspective of someone who does. And be honest about it.

I’ll admit I’ve made some writing attempts on a few subjects that were less than impressive. It’s not my niche, I told myself and concluded that I sucked at that topic, when actually I just needed to stretch first instead of diving head first.

Stretching before plunging gives us our best chance to succeed because we learn as we go. It’s called experience. Be greedy with it … grab it when you see it, horde and stockpile this priceless fodder that will give back to you every day in ways you can’t even imagine.

So, if you want to be a good writer, write about what you don’t know. You’ll know you’re doing a good job when someone mistakes you for an SME … subject matter expert.

Think about the essay portion of your final exam in high school or college … the one on the subject you knew the least about. Write just like that … especially if you got an “A.”

Who knew we were really just stretching?


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