Write About Any Topic
When given a writing assignment, the most intimidating topic is “Any Topic”.
Please note that I did not say “Every Topic”.
“Any topic” suggests that the writer is free to write about a subject matter of his choosing.
At first glance, this may seem like a blessing. You are given freedom; the chance to explore; the chance to be yourself; to find yourself; to lose yourself; to be a responsible adult and choose a topic that will appeal to your audience.
It might even be an unknown audience. What if your topic doesn’t resonate? What if your topic is nothing like everyone else’s and not in a good way? What if you just end up choosing the wrong topic? Will you be judged by this for life?
You’re starting to have second thoughts now aren’t you?
Why is it so hard to choose a topic to write about?
We were not raised to be free.
All our lives we have been told what to do as well as what not to do. We are taught to walk the straight and narrow. We have been taught, since pre-school, to arrive together, sit together, play the same games, learn the same things in the same order, eat together and leave together.
No matter our career choice, we always end up in a pre-selected group with individuals just like us who follow the same basic trajectory. This group is set over by a shepherd who is responsible for keeping us in line.
We become so comfortable in this familiar environment that we are terrified when separated from the group.
How can you tell me to choose any topic without even so much as to give me an idea or a list of topics to choose from?
What if my topic becomes the odd one that stands in a bad way?
How can I find out what the popular chosen topics are and take my pick from that?
How will I compare my work with those of my peers to see where I fit in?
I cannot and therefore I am forced to thread these lonely waters and hope I do not drown.
Doubting your chosen topic after doing so much work on it
One of the downfalls of being able to choose any topic is that one might, even after completion of the article, decide that the wrong topic was chosen for one reason or another.
This will result in precious time lost in research and compilation based on maybe nothing but a gut feeling. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to listen to your gut. The issue is that gut feelings are very similar to butterflies in your stomach.
Writing for an unknown audience
Another issue with “Any Topic” arises when one does not know the audience.
The number one deciding factor when it comes to choosing a topic is the audience.
Whether you will be speaking to a crowd or submitting your piece to an individual or a panel of persons, it helps to know who those persons are. This will allow you to choose a topic that can speak to that demographic.
Imagine doing an article called “The Genius of the Big Bang Theory”. You submit it with hopes of it being published in your local newspaper. This has been a dream of yours after all and you put all your effort into this masterpiece. Later that day you find out that the chief editor is also a well-known deacon in the Catholic Church. I can almost guarantee that will not be the article that triumphs as your newspaper debut.
Survival depends on us being average but don’t fall for it
The need for individuals to coordinate with other humans is crucial for us to survive and thrive as a species, which we have been doing for thousands of years.
This, unfortunately, ensures that each individual is average. This is a safety net for the species but on an individual level, it is a retardant.
If you do some research into your history books, the persons who stand out are those who refused to conform to societal norms. They are the ones who were seen as misfits or even lawbreakers. They believed in themselves and their genius enough to put their all into it come hell or high water.
The renowned writers in history are no exception to this rule. Not all of them lived to reap the benefits of their revolution, but their names are forever etched in that infinitesimal percentile of greats.
They are the ones who refused to just survive and instead put it all on the line to be their best selves.
Just start writing and do not stop
Do not be afraid to choose “Any Topic”. Write about whatever you want to. Just began whatever comes to mind and let your thoughts pour out onto the paper or the screen.
The more you write, the more thoughts will emerge from that untapped infinite reservoir within your mind.
If your work is ridiculed solely based on your preferred topic, it just means you had the wrong audience.
Keep writing. Do it because you love it.
As long as you have found a style or a niche that is right for you, stick to it.
Do not change to fit in with the audience. It is better to change the audience and this goes for “Any Topic”.