Most of the time when we write about life or other non-fiction topics, the themes and observations are not something new to the world.
For example, I recently wrote an essay about neurodiversity called, “What is Neurodiversity and Why Does it Matter?”
Am I the first person to write an essay about neurodiversity? Absolutely not. There are hundreds, probably thousands.
So why bother?
First, no one writes the way you do. We all have a unique voice. The way you explain something will enhance the topic.
There have been many times that people tried to explain something to me (usually a psychological topic), and it didn’t quite make sense until it was explained in a way that made sense to me.
There will be someone who experiences that click due to the way you explain things.
Second, your personal experiences add depth to the topic. When I write about life topics, I like to infuse them with my personal experiences and observations, such as my experiences in the therapy room. These unique experiences help bring a topic to life and illustrate it in a way that no one else could.
Third, if you care about it, it’s worth writing about. There are many reasons that people write. Nowadays I see a lot of people writing just to build SEO and get people to their website. I understand why they do it - they need people to know they exist.
Writing that is fueled solely for this intent will be centered around key words, relevant topics to the businesses' field, and the like.
This is not where I want my source of inspiration.
I pull my inspiration from my daily life. I look around at the life I’m living and the field I’m in (mental health), and I write about the things I want others to see. I write my opinions on what is helping and hurting us as humans, as therapists, as private practice owners and more. I write about the things I think it would be helpful for people to better understand.
I write about things I care about.
Thus, it is of little consequence to me if it is a topic that has already been written about.
For example, therapy textbooks and classrooms discuss the importance of therapists seeing their own therapists. And yet, in my daily lived experience, many therapists are NOT making the time to see a therapist. I see the impact this has on our field, so I write about it.
I amplify and remind therapists that we need to be in therapy, with essays such as Therapists Need Their Own Therapists.
I also try to dig deeper into issues. I think about WHY therapists are not making the time. What systemic issues and cultural norms are contributing to this? This leads to more essays, such as writing about how therapists are frequently burnt out, exhausted, and resentful due to norms of the mental health field.
I don’t think these are new insights, but I don’t think they are talked about enough.
So I’m talking about them.
I want things to be different, and that often begins with naming the things that are holding us back, shedding more understanding, or amplifying a topic.
For example, I am an autistic person and often experience people who misunderstand autism. It is not their fault. They know what our culture has taught them.
So I want to provide more examples and more lived experiences to counter the misleading norms, such as my essays on What I Wish Others Knew About Autism and We Need More Depictions of the Interior Experience of Autism.
These are not new, groundbreaking things for me to write about. But I know it is culture making work. I am adding my voices to others so there are more and more accurate depictions of autism.
So do you need something “new” to write about?
No, but I suggest you care about what you choose.
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