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5 Writing Topics I Don’t Blog About, and Why

I’ve been doing a bit of blog stock-taking recently, looking back at the things I write about, the posts I enjoy the most and also the writing that resonates the most with you.

I also started thinking about the things I don’t write about.

There are at least five big writing topics that I know I avoid:

1. How To Write Better Fiction

I know many of you enjoy writing fiction, and I enjoy the comments and feedback you share on the experience.  What you’ve learned, what you apply, what you’d like to pass on, and how some of the things I talk about here help you (I hope!) to make progress with your writing.  But I don’t write fiction myself, no, not a novel, not short stories, not even flash fiction in 140 characters on Twitter.  My mind just goes blank and daydreams off into prose poems and blog posts instead.

So I don’t think there’s much I can add on how to write fiction with confidence.

Plus there are lots of other great sites out there that are already covering this.

2. How To Make Money From Writing

Another old favourite of the blogosphere, but not something I ever have or ever am likely to cover here.  Why not?  Well, I enjoy writing for the love of it.  Making money from freelance writing looks, to me, like hard work.  I aim to make money from teaching and coaching instead.  I’m going to sell as many copies of the book as I can, but even then I don’t really see it as a money spinner.

Plus, there are lots of other great sites out there that are already covering this.

3. How To Get Your Book Published

This is one I’m still learning about myself.  I do have a book (of short walks) published with a small independent publishing house in Edinburgh, but it wasn’t the easiest of paths to go down.  I have blogged about some of the issues involved in self-publishing , and I will share more of my experience on that front once the new book is on the shelves.  But it’s not an area I can claim to have any particular expertise in.

Plus, there are lots of other great sites out there that are already covering this.

4. How to Make Money Blogging

This one remains elusive.  Maybe I don’t try hard enough to chase after it.  Maybe it’s not something I really want.  Perhaps writing what I want to say, writing what I think you want to hear, writing what I hope will make a difference… is what keeps me coming back to the keyboard.

Plus, there are lots of other great sites out there that are already covering this.

5. How to Live the Writer’s Life

It’s another well worn issue in the social media space, but not one I give much room to here.  Maybe it’s because I’m not writing for a living,  not pursuing the freelance writing dream, not starting or finishing a novel.  Maybe it’s because it’s because I seem to stubbornly resist the label of ‘writer’.

Plus, there are lots of other… [oh, you get the idea]

I know there’s a sense in which I’m limiting possibilities in my decision not to blog about these topics.  Maybe I’m limiting the possibility for new conversation, new readers, maybe even new career directions.  Maybe my decision reflects some of my own limiting beliefs.

But on balance, and on reflection, I think the choice to not write about some things creates more room, more space, more energy to write about the things that interest me the most:

  • Exploring ways to write with confidence and courage
  • Learning how writing can make us feel more confident
  • Affirming the difference our words can make, the belief that our words count

Strangely, by taking stock of things I’m not blogging about I’ve come to a clearer understanding of the things that matter most to me.

By limiting the scope of what’s possible, a clearer, stronger sense of possibility shines through.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

On similar exercises you’ve done for yourself - what you do, and more importantly in this case, what you don’t want to blog about

On what I’m considering possible for this blog… not least as my choices affect your reading experience here

This post is a contribution to the theme of possibility that’s running through July and August.

Photo Credit: Typewriter, by TheGiantVermin on Flickr

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28 Responses to “5 Writing Topics I Don’t Blog About, and Why”

  1. On July 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm Eric responded with... #

    You mention that “there are lots of other great sites out there that are already covering” fiction writing. Could you list a few of your favorite fiction-related blogs/sites? That would be very interesting and helpful.

    Thanks

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  2. On July 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm Iain Broome | Write for Your Life responded with... #

    When I started my blog I tried to be pretty clear (with myself as much as anyone) about what it would contain. I have a broad writing background, but like you say, there are many sites out there doing perfectly good jobs of covering the things that you mention.

    So I chose productivity tips and practical advice for writers, which while not completely unique, I believed I could offer a fresh perspective on. Because it’s so easy to add to the noise, but way more valuable (and challenging) to offer something new, fresh and different.
    Iain Broome | Write for Your Life´s last blog ..Stand and deliver – five ‘P’s for a perfectly acceptable performance My ComLuv Profile

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  3. On July 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm iainbroome (Iain Broome) responded with... #

    Twitter Comment


    RT @tweetmeme 5 Writing Topics I Don’t Blog About, and Why | Confident Writing [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

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  4. On July 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm terryheath (Terry Heath) responded with... #

    Twitter Comment


    RT @bradshorr: RT @iainbroome: RT @tweetmeme 5 Writing Topics I Don’t Blog About, and Why | Confident Writing [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

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  5. On July 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Joanna, Given the direction of your non-writing, you are following the old adage to write about what you know. The fact that you write about topics not covered by everyone else is one reason I’m so attracted to your blog, a feeling I’ll bet many of your readers share.

    Things I don’t like to blog about include a topic I love, music. Although I enjoy reviewing books, when asked to describe music, words utterly escape me. There is not enough of a poet in me, I suppose. On the other hand, I could write about politics and theology all day long, but I don’t care to get that personal or engage my blog community on those topics.
    Brad Shorr´s last blog ..Business Theory in Process - The Uncertaintly Paradox My ComLuv Profile

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  6. On July 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach responded with... #

    I would never write about MLMs or Network marketing. I think that’s the epitomy of ‘selling the dream’….something from which I shy away.

    Always write where your heart is.
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..6 Brilliant Squeeze Page Resources You’ll Want To Explore Part 1 My ComLuv Profile

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  7. On July 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm bradshorr (bradshorr) responded with... #

    Twitter Comment


    RT @iainbroome: RT @tweetmeme 5 Writing Topics I Don’t Blog About, and Why | Confident Writing [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

    ReplyReply
  8. On July 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm Robert Hruzek responded with... #

    I think that sentence you ended each topic with adequately describes why I don’t do politics at the Middle Zone. (OK, maybe rarely!) Why add to the noise?

    But you’re right; figuring out what you don’t write about makes what you do write about clearer!
    Robert Hruzek´s last blog ..The Weed My ComLuv Profile

    ReplyReply
  9. On July 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Eric good question and thanks for picking it up - I’ll try and cover it some soon in an update

    Iain I think you’ve pitched your blog really well - plus you’re writing directly from experience, or maybe, as Barbara says, from the heart. Which makes it engaging and interesting even if the content is not 100% new - actually I don’t think any of us can write things which are totally new. And you are coming up with lots of interesting ideas - I thought the filming yourself writing experiment was fascinating for example

    Brad thanks for indulging me about my non-writing label ;-) I think there’s a lot of the poet in you… but I can understand the gap between words and music, or rather, how to find the words to write about it. I think it’s wise to steer clear of politics and religion on a blog unless that’s your prime focus, or you’re happy to have diverging views and /or stir up controversy..

    Barbara I love the clarity of your thinking, and the way you express big ideas in simple language. ‘Write where your heart is’… yes, indeed, sound advice, and a good prescription for confidence in your words too

    ReplyReply
  10. On July 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Robert I think you handle some of the sensitive topics with great care, but I agree with your general point…’why add to the noise?’ I found the question helped me to get closer on my own purpose, focus and intention… which is always good for the motivation… and dreaming up new posts :-)

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  11. On July 28, 2009 at 2:02 am Karen Swim responded with... #

    Joanna, I have always loved your focus and never found it limiting or restrictive. In fact although you don’t write about those 5 big topics your coaching inspires all kinds of writers with all kinds of writing dreams and goals. In that way you have expanded the community beyond what it would be by focusing on any of those topics. I have gone through a major change recently, and it began with what I did not do/like/want to serve. I had a clear sense of that and writing it down brought clarity to who I was. Thanks as always Joanna for guiding us by example.
    Karen Swim´s last blog ..Are You in the Dark? My ComLuv Profile

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  12. On July 28, 2009 at 2:34 am --Deb responded with... #

    I don’t think you’re so much limiting yourself as refining your focus-not a bad thing at all!
    -Deb´s last blog ..Shoot for the Moon My ComLuv Profile

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  13. On July 28, 2009 at 6:51 am J.D. Meier responded with... #

    Interestingly, I think you can blog about any of those topics and bring your confidence and courage perspective, as well as your voice or experience.

    I like the fact you shared your why.

    An interesting frame to consider when looking at topics is “problem”, “approach”, and “implementation.” For any topic where there’s already a bunch of content, you can decide whether to differentiate by problem, approach or implementation. For example, approach would be bringing confidence to the table. Implementation would be your specific voice or experience. It’s all good.
    J.D. Meier´s last blog ..10-10-10 Decision Making My ComLuv Profile

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  14. On July 28, 2009 at 7:25 am Naoko responded with... #

    I’m actually rather pleased by the lack of the above topics. It’s something new and interesting, and one of the reasons why I keep coming back to your blog. I suppose that for me, learning just how to write comfortably is enough.

    It’s certainly far more focused that what I keep in my mixed dish of a blog. :)
    Naoko´s last blog ..Points to ponder My ComLuv Profile

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  15. On July 28, 2009 at 8:03 am Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome responded with... #

    I love that you know what you don’t write about. That’s as important as knowing what you will write about. And now I’m off to check out my business’ mission statement and be clear about what I don’t cover on Someday Syndrome!
    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog ..A Midlife Check-In My ComLuv Profile

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  16. On July 28, 2009 at 8:45 am Clare Lynch responded with... #

    You got me thinking about my own writing blog. Here are five things about writing I’ll never write about.

    1. How to make money from writing (yes, me too)
    Why would anyone possibly want to make a living out of this if they had a choice? I’d hate to be responsible for helping people spend their days largely on their own, writing about stuff they don’t care about and dealing with clients who can’t write but think they can. Ugh!

    2. Whinges about specific clients
    I’m not brave enough to do that, but I do get a vicarious thrill from reading Lori Widmer’s brilliant heart-on-sleeve rants about her annoying clients. Check her out here: http://loriwidmer.blogspot.com/

    3. Praising examples of good writing
    Although my blog is supposedly about good business writing and bad, I mostly focus on dissecting examples of the bad. There’s so much more of it, and anyway I think sneering is my natural state. I’m thinking of filling this gap by inviting guest posters to take examples of good copy and explain why they think it works. If anyone’s interested, do get in touch.

    4. Fewer vs less, who vs whom, the intricacies of hyphenation and other pointless debates about correct usage
    I’m not a prescriptivist - if your meaning is clear I can live with less-than-Strunk-and-White-worthy text. Energy wasted on proving how knowledgeable I am about grammar is energy that could be directed towards lampooning or exposing pompous or nefarious uses of our wonderful language.

    5. How to write fiction or poetry
    I’m a critic, not a creator. I’ve learned to live with that.
    Clare Lynch´s last blog ..Thirty words and phrases you need to stop using today My ComLuv Profile

    ReplyReply
  17. On July 28, 2009 at 9:58 am Ulla Hennig responded with... #

    Joanna,
    I think your post is very useful - so everybody knows what he can expect and what he can not expect and why. And I think that’s a courageous thing to do.
    Ulla Hennig´s last blog ..A Cathedral in Ruins – Tartu, Estonia My ComLuv Profile

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  18. On July 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm Tumblemoose responded with... #

    Hi Joanna,

    Good on you for having the self awareness to know who you are and what works for you. There are a lot of folks who will continue to try and swim upstream no matter what.

    Not succumbing to the pressure of certain kinds of writing pays dividends in the future.

    Very nice post. I like it.

    George
    Tumblemoose´s last blog ..The House blogging method My ComLuv Profile

    ReplyReply
  19. On July 29, 2009 at 4:11 am Carla responded with... #

    I think I respect blogs that does not talk about making money than those that do. I guess its because that market is pretty saturated and its hard to know who has the best advice on that topic.
    Carla´s last blog ..Dont forget your pets: Natural Pet Care Products My ComLuv Profile

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  20. On July 29, 2009 at 6:09 am Davina responded with... #

    Hi Joanna. “Strangely, by taking stock of things I’m not blogging about I’ve come to a clearer understanding of the things that matter most to me.” This is a great insight. And, I like your question; I’ve been so busy working at coming up with ideas TO write about, I hadn’t considered looking at things from this perspective. Good exercise for the muse.
    Davina´s last blog ..Guest Post: 7 Myths About Asking for Help My ComLuv Profile

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  21. On July 29, 2009 at 8:15 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Karen thanks for that feedback. Your words made me realise something, that working out what we are not about is a key element of confidence. Thanks for helping me figure that one out!

    -Deb thanks, that’s what I was hoping for. It certainly feels clearer from this end ;-)

    JD you’re so good at coming up with helpful ways of looking at things. I like that idea - and it means I can expand into other areas in the future through the lens of confidence if I choose to. Thanks

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  22. On July 29, 2009 at 8:20 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Naoko oh thanks for that Naoko :-) Learning how to write comfortably is something I’d love to help with… I find that a most motivating thought! Thanks also for keeping on coming back

    Alex thanks coach :-)

    Clare hello, and thanks for arriving with such style :-) Your list of five things you don’t write about makes perfect sense to me. I agree with you absolutely on 1 and 4. Praising good stuff is I think harder to make interesting and insightful… but I’ll turn over your challenge in your mind and see if there’s anything I’d be able to come up with

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  23. On July 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Ulla thank you - I think it makes for a clear and respectful relationship with readers. It makes it feel a bit easier to move forward too

    George I know it’s something you take stock of and reflect on too. It’s a way that we can keep on adding value, or at least trying to ;-)

    Carla I agree, it is saturated. The only person whose advice I ever really took seriously was Darren Rowse, because we know he’s been there and done it…

    Davina you’re right, it is something the muse will enjoy… it can be quite a playful exercise as well as a clarifying one. I look forward to hearing / seeing the results of yours :-)

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  24. On July 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm Laura Cross responded with... #

    Joanna: Thanks for the post. I’m glad I found your blog. I think blogs that have a clear ‘mission’ do a better job of attracting readers than blogs that are less focused. I have two very young blogs (each less than two months old). I did a fair amount of research before selecting my ‘niche’ topics. Alas, at the end of the day, I choose to blog about ‘what I know’ in areas that I hope readers will find helpful along their own writing journey.
    Laura Cross´s last blog ..“Theme? We Don’t Need No Stinking Theme…” (or Why Even Mel Brooks’ Films Have Themes) My ComLuv Profile

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  25. On July 31, 2009 at 7:45 am Wilson Pon responded with... #

    So, Joanna. Would you consider to write a fiction in the near future, since you haven’t got the chance to do it right now? Maybe a change will make you feels good…?

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  26. On August 2, 2009 at 9:14 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Laura hi there, thanks for saying hello and I’m glad you found us too :-) I think you’re right, that blogs with a clear mission do better… though that mission can be an exploration of the world from your own unique perspective if that’s what gets the words and the ideas to flow… Good luck with your own blogs, I’m sure they’ll do well

    Wilson you are the only one to have come back at me and suggested I get out of my comfort zone! Good for you. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll do something a wee bit different as part of the mission (im)possible group writing project…

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  27. On August 2, 2009 at 10:24 am Solid Gold responded with... #

    Hi Joanna,

    Great topic! I recently found myself doing a blog stocktake too, and it was surprising and useful. I’m also interested in what it is that stops me from being as free and expressive on my blog as I would like. Perhaps it’s just that well-known gap that all artists, but particularly writers, experience between intention and execution?

    Thanks for your thoughts on the topic.

    Cheers,
    Solid Gold
    Solid Gold´s last blog ..Against pasta: Quotes from July My ComLuv Profile

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  28. On August 3, 2009 at 7:48 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Solid Gold, stock taking often helps us to see and feel patterns that might otherwise have been hidden. You ask a very interesting question… it seems to me that if you know how you would like to be, you probably know how to do it too. I think it’s probably a gap you know how to bridge, if you choose to.

    Maybe a bit of playing would be in order?

    Joanna

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