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How to Not Beat a Topic to Death

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

row of lightbulbs that are burnt out with one lightbulb that is lit

Have you ever caught yourself repeating a conversation? I’m not talking about rehashing an unsettled issue. I’m talking about having the exact same conversation with the same person. I know I have. This is a fairly frequent occurrence for humans. We have opinions and beliefs about a subject, and we often believe those to be well founded. This causes us to repeat ourselves almost indefinitely. In casual conversation, this isn’t such a big deal. You aren’t making any personal progression, but it’s not a crime. However, in writing, it could be a much bigger problem.

Those that write for a living can often find themselves struggling to write on the same topic repeatedly. They feel that they have beaten a topic to death, and that there is nothing left for them to say. They can’t repeat themselves for fear of self-plagiarism, but they are at a loss for new ideas. If you are struggling with this, these tips will show you that there are several more angles for you to cover before you’ve said everything that can be said.

Tip #1: Take a 180-degree turn

Let’s use an example. Suppose you are writing several pieces about the benefits of having a pool in your yard. You’ve written several articles covering all the toys, activities, and amenities that can make the pool a benefit. What else can you do? Take a 180-degree turn. Instead of considering what could make the pool a benefit, consider the problems with a pool.

You might be thinking, “Why? Why would I do that? That is clearly the opposite of the purpose behind my writing!” If that is what you are thinking, then you would be right. You won’t convince many people that a pool is a good idea by telling them it is a bad idea. However, you can use the negative aspects of a pool like potential dangers, maintenance, and utility costs, as material to spark ideas for positive writing. For example, everyone knows that a pool is potentially dangerous, especially for small children. You could write a piece that acknowledges the danger but then shows how to mitigate it.

Tip #2: Change Your Audience

You may find that your lack of ideas stems from your perception of your audience. You can come up with a whole host of new ideas by changing this perception. You could change your audience to focus on people from a specific region, race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, political beliefs, etc. Each of these things can affect how a person might view the subject that you are writing about. Catering to a more specific audience will allow you to tailor your writing to their interests. It is important that you be careful when you do this. You don’t want to offend anyone by relying on stereotypes. If you are concerned, check with a few members of your target demographic before publishing.

These two tips have proved invaluable for me as I have worked to improve my ability to come up with new ideas. I hope that they work well for you.

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