Blog Post: First Steps
July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
There’s something to be said for diving into unfamiliar waters head first. I’m not sure what that something is, yet, but I’m diving to find out. I’ve never had professional writing experience before (as in, I’ve never had a place to use my writing), but I’m embarking on that journey, and it’s bringing a lot of questions to mind.
Are there certain kinds of articles that might come out just as easily, if not more genuinely, from people inexperienced with their generally accepted constructs? An interview or profile article, for example, revolves around questions and curiosity about a person. If there’s a theme involved, that means that the publication has a specific audience whose average level of knowledge about the theme’s subject would be higher. So in this case, is it more beneficial to have an inexperienced writer ask questions of the person to be profiled with genuine curiosity or a more experienced writer who can start off at the level of the readership and progress higher?
Is it better to have someone who won’t assume they know the process of an artist who can ask question from the base up, or is it better to have someone at the level of the readers to work from there up, into something more advanced? Making the question even simpler, is it better to have someone discover something to shake your assumptions or better to have someone discover something that widens your boundaries of knowledge?
Also, are there specific kinds of articles best suited to someone who has less knowledge in the field? For example: writing an event of a review, writing a personal profile, writing an opinion piece? Writing an opinion piece might be terrible for a newbie to write, because their opinions are less informed and less polished than someone with more experience. But what about reviewing an event or profiling a person? Again, there are still downfalls. If the newbie doesn’t understand what’s going on at the event, they’ll cover it poorly. If it’s an event catering to gaining new members of the community, however, maybe a fresh mind would best bend the article to speak to other new minds and gain further interest. As for a piece covering a person, I’ve covered the pros and cons above, but I’m wondering where it fits in the spectrum of articles most accessible to less-knowledgeable writers.
Again, to clarify, they are not less-knowledgeable about writing, but about the subject matter of the themed publication. For example, if the publication covers math-related news and people. If the writer knows little about the progress in math, can they still adequately cover events, profiles, or opinion pieces?
And what is to be said for gaining knowledge as you go along? You might start out writing articles with little knowledge, but as you work, you will gain more and build a rapport and a relationship with the community you dived into.
I’m still working out a lot of these questions for myself. I feel it’s hard to answer a lot of them from the perspective of the less-knowledgeable writer, because I don’t know if the themed publication would appreciate reaching to a wider audience or would appreciate heightening the relationship they have with the established audience.
If you ran a themed publication that required extra knowledge that wasn’t picked up by the general public (you had to make an effort to be part of this themed community), would you hire a newbie to the subject or a seasoned community member more readily?