Writing what I know has always worked well for me. But as I recently discovered, writing about things I don’t really know, can also bring success.
When I was a young girl who loved playing outside with all my friends, I wowed my teachers with creative stories about young girls on adventures with their friends. As I evolved into a quirky teenager, I wrote quirky tales and essays about teen angst. Later, during and after law school, I wrote legal newsletters and feature articles for a trade association. Nearly fourteen years later, as a corporate attorney, I still write legal feature articles for that group.
However, my ultimate accomplishment from following the “write what you know rule,” came when my husband and I wanted to start a family. Our devastating infertility diagnosis and the fertility treatments and eventual, successful pregnancy that followed became the subject of my first book, “Pregnancy Wishes & IVF Dreams: A Story & Lessons About Life, Love & Infertility.”
Still, after I wrote my book, I had trouble finding new writing work so I decided to send my resume to any writing job I thought I could handle, regardless of the area of expertise. That meant replying to an ad for a tax writer, even though I had no tax, or accounting, background.
To my surprise, I was asked in for an interview. When the inevitable question came about my tax experience, I said that I felt confident that my extensive legal and writing skills would serve me well. A couple of months later, I received a call from the hiring manager asking if I could fill the role on a temporary basis. I happily accepted the offer.
At first, the learning curve was steep. But not long after, I let my natural writing ability take over and transformed my writing into “tax writing.” The “happily ever after ending” is that I was offered a permanent writing position with that company as a result of my hard work and commitment to mastering a new writing style.
So, the next time you see an ad for a type of writing you haven’t done before, don’t shy away. If the position or project sounds interesting and you think you can do it, you probably can. In the end, convincing yourself to give it a try may be harder than getting the job.
Kelley R. Taylor is a corporate attorney and freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Principal Leadership Magazine, Soul of Virginia Magazine, The Dabbling Mum, and The Education Digest. Kelley is also the author of the book, Pregnancy Wishes & IVF Dreams: A Story and Lessons About Life, Love & Infertility (Trafford, 2007) and recently won a 2007 APEX Award for Excellence in Publication. Learn more about Kelley, and her writing, by visiting www.ktcreative.net and www.pregnancywishes.com.