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How to Write Objectively on a Personal Topic

The first Monday of each month, I dust off a favorite post from the Bennis Inc Blog archives and give you another chance to enjoy the wit and wisdom that’s been shared. Enjoy this month’s treasure – and if it inspires you – be sure to share it with family and friends!


How to Write Objectively on a Personal TopicWe all have at least one area of expertise in our life. When it comes to sharing this knowledge with other people, whether it be on our website, blog, social media or newsletter, it can be challenging to stay objective and make it relatable to an audience who doesn’t share this same expertise. A similar challenge is writing about ourselves. Of course we know everything on this topic, so how do we concisely convey this information to everyone else?

My clients have various areas of expertise and often challenge me with the task of transforming their knowledge into captivating content. While there is no magic formula per se, I have found several strategies for writing objectively on a personal topic. Let’s take a look…

Do your research.

Doing research on a topic you already know intimately well may seem a bit odd. .What more could you stand to learn? A lot, actually. A simple Google search or browsing the Wikipedia page on the topic will highlight what the rest of the world deems as the most important and essential information.

Additionally, your research may uncover recent news coverage or articles that could impact how others feel about your topic. Preparing yourself with knowledge and being aware of public sentiment is an important first step to objectively writing about a personal topic.

Begin with an outline.

Now that your research has provided you with even more information on your topic of choice, create an outline to help organize your thoughts and highlight the most important points you wish to cover. One of the biggest challenges of writing objectively on a personal topic is boiling the information down to a clear and concise message. Your outline will let you see how your points flow together and if there are any gaps or holes you need to fill.

Hone in on your purpose.

When writing on a familiar and passionate topic, it’s easy to lose touch with the purpose of the content. All of a sudden you have pages upon pages written with no clear “take away” for your readers. When looking at your outline, are you able to quickly identify the main purpose of your writing?

For example, your personal topic might be creating your own bio. Of course you know yourself better than anyone else, but rather than spilling your whole life story in no particular order, you want to strategically pick what it is you want your readers to gain from reading your bio. Do you want to highlight your entrepreneurial spirit, leadership skills or love of education? Hone in on the purpose of your content and carry it throughout your writing – beginning to end.

Edit and simplify.

By this point you likely have way more content than you need. A 5-page bio is a bit excessive even for the President of the United States. Uncap your red pen or turn on the “review” feature on your Word doc and get to chopping. Read your writing out loud and look for redundancies, insignificant details and long winded descriptions that can be eliminated. This will be one of the hardest, but most important steps for creating content that will captivate your readers.

Ask for outside input.

Finally, ask a friend or family member who doesn’t have near the amount of expertise on your particular topic to read over your writing. Their outside perspective is valuable for identifying areas that need more explanation or industry-specific words that need to be defined or replaced with something more common. This input is a great litmus test for how your target audience will also respond to your writing.

What personal topics have challenged you when it comes to objective writing? Share how you overcame this struggle – or ask your questions on how to do so, by commenting below!

 

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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Business & Success

 

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How to Write Objectively on a Personal Topic

How to Write Objectively on a Personal TopicWe all have at least one area of expertise in our life. When it comes to sharing this knowledge with other people, whether it be on our website, blog, social media or newsletter, it can be challenging to stay objective and make it relatable to an audience who doesn’t share this same expertise. A similar challenge is writing about ourselves. Of course we know everything on this topic, so how do we concisely convey this information to everyone else?

My clients have various areas of expertise and often challenge me with the task of transforming their knowledge into captivating content. While there is no magic formula per se, I have found several strategies for writing objectively on a personal topic. Let’s take a look…

Do your research.

Doing research on a topic you already know intimately well may seem a bit odd. .What more could you stand to learn? A lot, actually. A simple Google search or browsing the Wikipedia page on the topic will highlight what the rest of the world deems as the most important and essential information.

Additionally, your research may uncover recent news coverage or articles that could impact how others feel about your topic. Preparing yourself with knowledge and being aware of public sentiment is an important first step to objectively writing about a personal topic.

Begin with an outline.

Now that your research has provided you with even more information on your topic of choice, create an outline to help organize your thoughts and highlight the most important points you wish to cover. One of the biggest challenges of writing objectively on a personal topic is boiling the information down to a clear and concise message. Your outline will let you see how your points flow together and if there are any gaps or holes you need to fill.

Hone in on your purpose.

When writing on a familiar and passionate topic, it’s easy to lose touch with the purpose of the content. All of a sudden you have pages upon pages written with no clear “take away” for your readers. When looking at your outline, are you able to quickly identify the main purpose of your writing?

For example, your personal topic might be creating your own bio. Of course you know yourself better than anyone else, but rather than spilling your whole life story in no particular order, you want to strategically pick what it is you want your readers to gain from reading your bio. Do you want to highlight your entrepreneurial spirit, leadership skills or love of education? Hone in on the purpose of your content and carry it throughout your writing – beginning to end.

Edit and simplify.

By this point you likely have way more content than you need. A 5-page bio is a bit excessive even for the President of the United States. Uncap your red pen or turn on the “review” feature on your Word doc and get to chopping. Read your writing out loud and look for redundancies, insignificant details and long winded descriptions that can be eliminated. This will be one of the hardest, but most important steps for creating content that will captivate your readers.

Ask for outside input.

Finally, ask a friend or family member who doesn’t have near the amount of expertise on your particular topic to read over your writing. Their outside perspective is valuable for identifying areas that need more explanation or industry-specific words that need to be defined or replaced with something more common. This input is a great litmus test for how your target audience will also respond to your writing.

What personal topics have challenged you when it comes to objective writing? Share how you overcame this struggle – or ask your questions on how to do so, by commenting below!

 

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Business & Success

 

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When To Hit Delete: Starting over is NOT the same as giving up

giving up, starting overThere are some weeks where my Monday blog topic clearly presents itself. It’s an obvious epiphany, life lesson or a piece of business advice I’m thrilled to share. But there are some weeks where finding an inspiring blog topic consumes more time and energy than some of my biggest work projects. Because this blog is more a creative outlet and not my bread and butter, I have to be careful how much I allow something that’s supposed to be an enjoyment stress me out. Well if this blog’s title isn’t indication enough…this week fell more under category #2.

I started off with everything in my advantage. I began writing good and early (I like to pre-write my blog posts no later than the Thursday prior to publishing). I even had a quote that inspired me to write about a particular topic and the ideas flowed easily. By a few paragraphs in, I realized I didn’t like the direction I was headed, but felt I had come too far to turn back. A little unsettled by the fact I didn’t love my work, I kept going. I concluded with my final thought and realized I had invested even more of my time into half-heartedly completing a project I would call “mediocre” at best. I may have been bitter, but I wasn’t going to give up. So I spent yet more time scouring my writing for ways to reorganize and direct it back to my original point – but it couldn’t be done. The editing it would require to become the finished product I wanted it to be would take more time than simply starting over. If there’s something I hate more than failing it’s wasting time – and I had successfully (or unsuccessfully) done both.

I couldn’t bear to hit delete and erase hours’ worth of work, so instead I hit “Save,” opened a new Word doc and began again. The ideas continued to flow, but not too long into writing, I realized I still wasn’t loving the direction I was headed. I read and re-read, outlined paragraph topics and jotted down ideas all in an effort to make a roadmap that would lead me to the final point that so perfectly coordinated with the quote that was the blog’s inspiration. I closed my laptop for the night and refused to confront the issue until two days later.

When I looked at my work again, my feelings hadn’t changed. I was still out-of-love with the words and turned off to the whole topic by this point. So I deleted every one of those 2,243 characters and began again. And then it hit me – I was so stubborn and unwilling to start over because I felt like starting over was the same as giving up. Instead of cutting my losses on a few hours’ worth of work, I was more willing to continue to put even more time into a project that was going to fail anyway. I know I’m not alone in this feeling whether it’s in writing, business or in life. There are times where we feel like we’ve invested so much that we can turn back, that hitting stop and starting over would be the biggest failure. No. Investing even more time into a failing project is the failure. Stopping and never staring again is the failure. But restarting and rebuilding from the ground up is a humbling and rewarding experience.

Writing has always been and will continue to be one of my most favorite hobbies. The only time it really becomes an effort is when I refuse to let the words take me where they please. This is just as applicable to life – when we’re too focused on reaching a specific end point, we lose the ability to wander down a different path and find an even better destination. I would have never thought that the struggles of writing could teach me such a broad life lesson, but I suppose my doubt is what led me to write three versions of this week’s blog in the first place.

In a funny twist of fate, I’ll share with you the original inspiration quote I worked so hard to mold my writing around. It looks like everything I just wrote was everything I wanted to write all along…

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Business & Success, Life

 

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