Welcome to the third chapter of Getting to Know It’s A Stampede! – a series of posts discussing the inner workings of this blog.

In the first chapter I discussed what this blog is all about and how it came to be. Chapter two looked at me, my interests and how these feed into the content of the blog.

Today I’m going to talk about writing.

I put pen to paper on a daily basis, so writing is an important aspect of what I do. As It’s A Stampede! takes up a considerable chunk of my week, I believe it’s time to talk words.

Why do I write? 

I write because I’m a writer.

There’s a quote in the book, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Wilke, which reads: “If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing, then you are a writer.”

These are wise words, but sometimes it takes a while to accept them.

Back when I started writing, I would send countless emails to magazines offering my services for free. In order to get paid gigs I needed experience, but it was difficult to get experience unless I was given the opportunity to show people what I could do.

You’d think that by offering to work for free I would have been inundated with offers, wouldn’t you? Well sadly I wasn’t and it took a lot of emails to get anyone to respond.

When I did get a response, I was so happy to get some experience under my belt, I continued to write for free for sometime. In fact, I wrote for free for far too long and this had an effect on how I viewed my own abilities.

I had a strong desire to write, but because I wasn’t getting paid I felt like I couldn’t really class myself as a writer. This train of thought stuck with me for quite some time until paid gigs started happening.

Then one day, I realised that from the moment I’d sent the first email until the day I got my first pay cheque, I was writing. Early mornings, late nights, weekends – these were all times when I’d sit and type out words.

Often I was writing not because I was being asked to, but because I had a genuine desire to do it. And that’s when it finally hit me – if I was spending the majority of my free time writing, then I was a writer.

Paid or unpaid, published or unpublished, pen or keyboard, I was a writer. 

This was an important lesson to learn. It took me too long to learn it, but I got there in the end.

It’s also a lesson that I could have applied to anything that I had felt passionate about. It’s a lesson everyone should understand.

To paraphrase Sister Mary Clarence in the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), “If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer, girl.”

Remember this lesson.

What should you consider when writing?

For me, there are two very important things to consider when writing.

  • Is the subject matter something I’m familiar with?
  • Is the subject matter something I’m interested in?

If you’re interested in the subject and you know it inside out, then you will write about it with passion. If you’re not familiar with the subject and you have zero interest in it, then you’d best do some research to make sure you know what you’re talking about!

What makes a good story? 

People. People make great stories.

Find the person in the story and give them the opportunity to connect with the reader.

If you’re writing about the construction of a new building, tell the story of the people who constructed it or the people it is being built for. If you’re writing about the closure of a local cinema, talk about how this affects local people.

Boring subjects can be made interesting if you find someone to talk about. Plus, people are interesting.

Who is the best person to write for?

YOU!

As much as I’d like to say I write content for everyone in the world, the truth is I write content mostly for myself. If I’m not interested in it, then it’s unlikely that I’ll be writing about it – unless I’m getting paid.

If I’m getting paid, then I’ll write about whatever I’m being asked to write about (within reason). I don’t have to be interested in it, I just need to find an angle that makes it interesting for me.

Of course, if I’m writing something I’m not so interested in then I also consider who it is I’m writing for and address the tone and content accordingly. I always try to break down jargon and terminology so that the information is understandable for everyone.

If I’m not being paid to write something then I write about what I want to write about. No one pays me to write It’s A Stampede!, so I write what I want, when I want.

The point of all this is that the best person to write for, whether you’re being paid or not, is YOU! If you write something that you know you could read and understand, then it’s something worth writing!

Write, write and write some more

All of the above is a quick rundown of how I approach writing. I’ve never claimed to be the best writer/blogger in the world, but I do claim to enjoy what I do and for me, that’s the most important thing of all.

Thanks for stopping by!

Alex