From Brain to Keyboard – Choosing a Topic

closeup photo of computer keyboard

Photo by meo on

Sometimes finding something to write about isn’t easy. Sometimes it is the hardest thing we will do in our week (okay, most likely not, but it is hard). Even when you have a blog that covers a specific topic it can be hard to identify a good topic that doesn’t just regurgitate the same material over, and over, and over.

Case in point. I was talking with my almost 14 year old son about what to write about for his eighth grade final literacy paper. We talked about past papers, and topics he felt strongly about. He didn’t want to write about topics he had already covered, wanted something new, but didn’t know how to go about finding something he felt strongly enough about to discuss, while also finding something that wouldn’t be too sensitive for a school paper.

The one topic he kept coming back to dealt directly with school, the changes due to budgetary constraints, and other rules that he has some pretty strong opinions about. He didn’t want to write about this, though, because he was afraid it would be too sensitive for a school project, and perhaps reflect poorly in his grade. I am a firm believer that if it is important to you then it probably needs to be written about and I asked him how he could take that topic and generalize it so it was less about his exact school and more about the broader issues. We brainstormed for a bit and realized that the recent Teacher’s Strike in Denver as well as other budget cuts that have hit the school systems make a great topic. He can take the time to look into how they impact the teachers and administrative staff as well as the students.

We talked about how you can broaden a topic to help avoid sensitivity concerns, but still making sure that the important notes get covered. That’s important to consider in all of our writing, because we all have important things we want to say but we get worried about who might read it. The end goal is to create a dialogue, to impact communication, to help people bridge the gap. How can any of that happen if we don’t take the time to consider the audience and how the words might be received?

It isn’t just about picking a topic to write about – if it were it would be beyond incredibly easy. Instead, it’s so much more. The impact of the topic, and making sure the words that go along with it say exactly what you want them to say.

What kind of sensitive topics have you considered writing about? Did you? If you did, how did it work out for the readers? Feel free to let me know, either in the comments or contact me directly through the contact page or via email:

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