Saadi’s Theorem: “A writer can write about anything.”
I was wrong
Until a couple of days ago, I believed that a writer can [should be able to] write about anything or everything. For example, in the past, I wrote some posts about web and mobile app development processes. The posts were well received, both, my boss and readers appreciated that. And I thought, “Wow! Neither I am a developer nor a project manager, yet I explained difficult concepts masterfully,” that particular moment, I felt I am a great writer, who can write about anything.
However, after a while, I realized a fact about those posts. The fact was that I just merely offered a [well-presented] piece of digested information, gathered from the industry experts. All I did was some online research, read some articles, interview some industry experts, and then write about it. It was a depressing thought, and it kept me that way for a very long time, until I attended a webinar, in which famous writer Jeff Goins described different types of writers.
I thought, a writer should be able to write about anything, but realized that such writers (like me) were only presenting a digested piece of information collected through different mediums. So, I was depressed and demotivated.
According to him, we can distribute writers into five different types. These types are:
- The Journalist: It is the one who is naturally curious, asks a lot of questions, talk to people and then present that information into a legible form. Example: Malcolm Gladwell
- The Prophet: It is a person who is against the status quo, he challenges things around him. They present the ugly, nasty, and dirty truth, which people often miss. Example: Seth Godin
- The Artist: It is a person who sees beauty in everything and can describe it even more beautifully. Whether it is prose or poem, they can describe things beautifully. Example: Ann Voskamp.
- The Professor: It is a person who has thirst of knowledge and wants to know how things works, then explain it to people. Example: John Biggs
- The Star: It is someone who is already famous and has influence to change people’s lives in a positive way. It can be a cancer survivor, a famous celebrity, a sportsperson, etc. Example: Nick Vujicic
So, my guilt of being a writer who jots down other people’s words, were misplaced. What I was doing, was a journalist’s work. Researching, asking all the right questions, and then coming up with a perspective which I think would be useful for my readers. Moreover, I was writing it in my own style, presenting information to readers in an interesting yet simple way.
The other thing that I learned through that webinar was the importance of picking a type and subject and then sticking with it. So, if a writer picks a type (from one of the types discussed above) and then try to pick a subject according to his/her interest, he/she is more likely to succeed as a writer than a writer who is trying his/her hands on everything and anything.
The above notion (writing about anything or everything) was not letting me settled for a particular niche or subject, thus leaving me in “jack of all, master of none” kind of situation. Moreover, I was putting myself under a lot of undue pressure, because writing about anything or everything needs a lot of researching, reading, learning, and digesting a lot of information. And of course, then there is writing. It is already too much work. Repeating it day-in and day-out for everything and anything makes it more miserable.
In a nutshell, you can write about anything or everything, but it will exhaust you as a writer. If you want to become a [successful] writer, and by successful I mean writers who earn their bread through writing, a good way to do it is to pick a type, then a subject, and then ace it. Whether your interest is in food, technology, arts, entertainment, pets, or whatever you think you are good at or you love, you need to write about it on a regular basis. Only then you can find your true voice as a writer and that will also help you establish yourself as an authority on your chosen subject.
P.S. The types and subjects are not limited to the ones discussed in this post, sky is the limit. Be yourself, discover your own type and subject.
Subscribe to my mailing list.