How beginner writers can approach a writing topic when they are new to the subject matter
If you’re a beginner writer and you have a writing topic to tackle that you find overwhelming, you are not alone! Whether you’re creating an essay, a writing piece, a creative work or other type of writing task, there are times when we often feel that we’re in “over our heads” when it comes to the subject matter. Learning how to tackle almost any topic is something that can be achieved over time, all it takes is hard work, patience and research.
Read and re-read the topic
No matter what your task is, the most important thing to do is to make you understand the question, the task and plan an approach. So often we rush into a task and don’t fully understand what we’re doing, this can lead to mistakes later on. Make sure you know what the task is asking you to do; examine the question or task from all angles and get out a dictionary or course book if you think this will help.
Break down the task into chunks
Next, it’s important to break the task down into chunks. How long is the piece of work? What are the major components? Usually a solid introduction will start, followed by persuasive arguments, the body of the creative work, the flow of the argument (backed up by expert opinion) and then a conclusion or argument will finish the document. Make sure your reader leaves with a sense of ‘completion’. They should know what you’ve said, what the point of this is and what their next steps should be.
Spend plenty of time researching the task
Once you have a rough outline of the task at hand and you understand your approach, it’s important to do thorough research. Even if you are doing a creative task, immerse yourself in other literature; read widely from writers who are published and may have more experience for inspiration. Look at the use of tone, language and style; let your ideas flow.
Take the advice and knowledge of experts on board
What arguments should you present? Take some time to research other experts in the field. Who are the major “voices” you can take advice from? It’s important to know about the experts in your field of scope – modern experts as well as historical ones. Even if you are writing a creative work, take inspiration from classic and modern authors and spend some time making yourself familiar with them.
Edit and re-edit your work
Once you have some work down on the page, take some time out to give your writing some careful consideration. This is a good stage to call in the experts if you need them. There are some terrific advisory services on the web. They can help you write admission papers and advise on subject matter but make sure you have done some of the background work yourself, as being ethical is an important part of your writing journey and will hold you in good stead, moving forward.
Seek an outside opinion
Once your work is completed or nearing completion, ask for help from your peers to review your writing. Make sure this is done with someone you trust. You might even want to show your notes to your professor, your creative writing teacher or your boss or manager, depending on the task. Getting feedback can be awesome, but it can also be disheartening if feedback is not given sensitively, so choose someone with expertise in this area.
Be confident in what you have achieved
The last step is to give yourself a “pat on the back”. All writing takes a degree of confidence and you should feel a sense of achievement having gotten the work done. All truly important skills can be mastered over time, so don’t look at this particular writing task as the be all and end all of your writing career. This is just the start.