Write Something No One Else Can Write

Make your writing unapologetically yours


Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 3 min read

When people come to me for writing advice, I tell them this: write something no one else can write.

Do a hard and close read through your piece. What makes your writing unapologetically yours? What can you do without? Magnify what’s yours and minimize what isn’t.

It can be easy to feel like you need to sell out while writing online. And offer the same generic advice you’ve seen while scrolling through Google because you know what might sell or what might be safe to write about.

Safe is boring. Generic is boring. You might be scared of taking risks and putting yourself out there when you’re writing. Maybe you’re too careful about your political or religious opinions at the risk of being divisive. You want to be the perfect writer, someone every person reading can relate to.

If there were a perfect writer, that writer would be boring. Don’t shy away from controversial or divisive content. If you’re anything like me, you won’t completely understand how you feel about something until you start writing about it — so write about divisive or controversial topics from abortion, gun control, gender identity, and foreign policy.

In your writing, be you and be unapologetically you. Write about the personal experiences you feel people won’t care about. Why? Because your personal experiences are yours and no one else’s. Your personal experiences might not sell, but would you rather publish an article about “7 Ways To Be More Productive” or about the experiences that shaped your relationship with a sibling or parent, or the experiences that changed the way you saw yourself?

Generic self-development advice has its place. All of us want to improve but generic pieces tell rather than show. I’ve been guilty of this, and if you’re going to write an excellent piece, show why people should believe you. Show all of your journey — the mistakes you made as well as the triumphs you had. What experience led to your lesson?

You might be thinking, “What if I’m a boring person?”

I assure you that if you sought out writing in the first place, you’re not a boring person. There are parts of you that are unexplored and unexpressed in your writing. Be vulnerable and share your personal experiences. Don’t tie them to whatever stats or results might come of them.

As a teacher, I often write about my experiences in the classroom and tell stories that stuck out and were worth writing about.

These experiences are often embarrassing: they express how naive I was and what I learned in the process, and show my green ears as a new teacher. For example, I wrote about the time a kid put me in a headlock, the time a kid stole my phone and I had to pursue further action, and how, as an Asian-American, my kids perceive me as white.

I’m sure similar things have happened to other people and teachers. My experiences are unique because I perceive them in my own unique way. Writing allows me to show that I’m a human being, not a robot that churns out insight and advice. Show your readers you’re a human being too.

The education articles weren’t my most successful articles, but they were pieces I was more proud of than anything — they were unapologetically mine.

No one else could have written these pieces. Only I could, given my own experiences and writing style. They were articles I was the proudest to attach my name to. If I were to one day obtain the courage to write a piece about my complicated relationship with my family, then that piece would supersede my pieces about classroom experiences. I’m not ready for that yet — at least not in a public forum where the privacy of the people close to me would be compromised.

What makes your writing unique?

What makes your writing unapologetically yours?

Embrace it. Write something no one else can write.

This article was originally published by Ryan fan on medium.


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