Sad, but true: writers have to know how to write about boring topics because we’re not all lucky enough to write about what we love.
Whether you’re writing an essay about dirt or a dull report about due diligence, these tips will help you engage in what you’re writing.
These five tips are from guest writer Sarah Danielson, who says, “Dull content can be the kiss of death for otherwise likeable writers. Being professional and meeting the needs of your clients is one thing, but even if their style is extremely conservative, it doesn’t preclude you from writing content that is snappy and engaging (within the parameters of the subject matter). However, this is easier said than done.”
Becoming a better writer involves writing writing writing, as well as reading reading reading. Books like Writing Creative Nonfiction can give you the writing tools you need to make a boring topic fun, lively, interesting!
How to Write About a Boring Topic
If you’re not interested in the topic you’re writing about or have little knowledge of the topic (or if it’s just plain boring!), you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to making it exciting for readers with inside knowledge.
So, short of spending hours researching the culture, history, and lingo behind every boring topic, what can you do to spice it up?
1. Find a way to increase your own interest in the topic
If you can discover a way in which your boring topic ties in to something that you are passionate or knowledgeable about, then you can make it interesting to yourself. And if you find the subject matter engaging, you should have no problem dragging the reader right along with you.
Pretend you’re writing to make a difference.
(Laurie jumps in to add a quip: “Boring for the writer, boring for the reader.” Did a famous writer say that? No matter – it’s a good writing tip!).
2. Use writing prompts
If your trouble seems to be in the “getting started” department, maybe you’re just having a crisis of faith (as in, “Why did I ever think I could do this?”). If that’s the case, you may just need a little shove in the right (write?) direction. To that end, writing prompts can be very useful.
Even if you can’t find one that relates to your topic, they can get the wheels turning in that cobwebby noggin, which can help you figure out how to write about that boring topic.
3. Ask questions that make the boring topic more interesting
If you have a question about your topic, maybe your readers do, as well. So start off by asking the question. This is a good way to hook readers into the topic, but it can also be an excellent launching point for you to work through your writing, not to mention providing you with a built-in ending (when you answer the query you started with).
4. Make the topic relatable – and thus less boring – for readers
When people read something that pertains to them, odds are that they will be vastly more interested in following through. The best way to make a topic relatable is to make it personal. People all have the same basic wants and needs (food, shelter, love, security, etc.) so if you can tap into those feelings in yourself, you have a good chance of hooking your readers.
Are you an artist? Read How to Become a Better Writer – an Artistic Perspective. Weaving your creativity into your writing can help increase your engagement with the topic. Phew. What a mouthful!
5. Just give the facts, ma’am
Knowing what you’re talking about is always a good idea. But for writers it’s not always an option. There are going to be times in your professional life when you’re just going to have to wing it (since hours of research would cut your hourly rate to well below the poverty level). In that case, be sure to use the information at hand and clarify the rest as opinion.
We can’t all be experts on every topic, but using the knowledge you have and buffering it with personal opinion can be enough to get you through. Just remain confident and don’t write anything that you can’t back up with outside sources. Nothing will destroy your credibility (or career) faster than being caught in a lie.
Fellow scribes, how do you write about boring topics in ways that make them more interesting? Your comments and good writing tips are welcome below!
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Sarah Danielson writes for Medical Billing and Coding Schools, where you can learn about a career in medical billing and coding.