Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making Your Work Credible by Consulting the Experts and Studying Your Topic

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 11/18/15

The end of summer managed to sneak up on me with a gentle breeze. Before I knew it, the full force of its magic was becoming a distant memory, as the approach of another school year was upon me. All was not lost in the spirit of a well needed break from the daily grind. Though I felt the need to be less active, I found myself just as engaged, but in many different ways. (August 12, 2009)

The above paragraph triggered so many memories from when my kids were in school. It’s a mom thing, and I had to leave it in, because it brings back a fondness from that time in my life, that remains in my heart and is difficult to describe.

Writing is like anything else. If you don’t know what you’re writing about, it shows. If your work isn’t founded in fact and trustworthy information, it will damage your reputation. As a publisher, you will be vetted by your audience and anyone who comes across your work. If you’re not sure about something, or you’re just winging it, the chances of you failing go up substantially.

It’s important to make acquaintance with people who are experts in their fields, so you can rely on their expertise to publish in yours, especially if your work is dependent upon their knowledge. Writers are the experts in word craft, but they don’t know everything. They research and study lots of different things, so they can create stories, articles and other publications, providing new insight into things, or being creative with fictional works, to enhance the detail, and maybe address a more serious subject, though that’s not a mandatory requirement for fictional pieces at all.

Regardless, it is vitally important to consult the experts and make one’s work credible. If a writer publishes a fictional book with Oregon as the backdrop, and refers to the dry heat and flat prairies all over the place, no one is going to take him seriously. It simply makes no sense, and anyone who reads that book is likely going to say so. This can and will damage a writer’s reputation, which is why publishers need to do their homework and study their subject matter well.

Talk to people who know the scope of everything you want to include in your work. Become very familiar with your topic, and express yourself with authority when you write about it. Use an abundance of resources when you’re working, even if it’s only on a fictional piece. You can never have enough information, but you sure can short circuit yourself by having too little, especially if the little bit you have is not as reliable as you think.

Avoid underestimating your readers. These people have lives, and you are lucky they are taking a little bit of time out of those lives, to spend a few minutes or more reading what you wrote. Lives are complex entities, complete with emotions, families, unique experiences, travels, education and everything that goes into living. These people are intelligent beings, and writers have an obligation to treat them as such.

Which is all the more reason to consult the experts, do diligent research, study and become so familiar with the subject matter and various side topics, that you could write about them blindfolded if necessary, and never underestimate your audience and potential to soar to the top of the charts with your work.

You have it in you. The only question that remains is, are you willing to release it on an unsuspecting public? I personally hope so, because this world needs all the amazing writers it can get!

M. J.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Writer’s Challenge

Life is an adventure. It’s an opportunity to try new things and explore the world. We’re all on the same playing field, but we have different ways of expressing our uniqueness. You never know when something seemingly insignificant will turn into something else. What’s even more interesting is that we often affect people without even realizing it.

Be open to all of your possibilities. Don’t let fear prevent you from being who you were meant to be. More importantly, don’t let laziness give you an excuse not to discover who you really are. As a writer, you have an impact much greater than you realize. You also have a responsibility to the rest of the world.

How will you use your gift to make a difference and improve society? Will you expose activities that could have dire consequences? Will you be more passive, and share stories that teach morality? Do you use your voice only through the written word, or do you graciously accept the microphone, answering questions as they arise?

How and when it happens, no one knows. It does happen though, and if you are willing, it will be an adventure beyond comparison. Greatness isn’t born; it simply responds when the opportunity presents itself. Live life boldly, and laugh along the way.