I watched a television interview with Steven Spielberg last night.
One of the things that comes up during most interviews is the promotion of the person’s latest offering, albeit a book, record, movie, or television show. In Spielberg’s case, he talked about his latest movie, Lincoln.
Being a history fan, I watched with interest as I wondered what in the world could be written (yes, screenplays are written) about Lincoln that hasn’t already been said. The answer came quickly–the movie is about the last four months of Lincoln’s life and his work to pass the thirteenth amendment that abolishes slavery. I’m sure there’s lots in the movie about working together, leadership, etc., but the point is there’s new written work about a subject that’s been very well covered.
So what does all of this have to do with you and your writing? No matter how much has been written about the topic you want to write about, it hasn’t all been said because you haven’t written your perspective yet.
Only you can bring your insights, your interpretations, your ideas to a subject. Whether you’re writing nonfiction or fiction, you get to bring a unique viewpoint to your reader.
Keep your antenna tuned to stories you hear, events going on, quotes shared, or news reported. Look for that nugget you can use. Offer your reader your vision, viewpoint, perspective, position, belief, idea, or attitude regarding that nugget. Of course, you don’t want to alienate your reader, but you can show your reader a new or different way to look at a topic.
Think about Lincoln. How much has been said about him and his presidency? Yet, someone found a different angle and the public gets the benefit. Don’t deny your reader by holding back. About the time you think it’s all been said, remember that it hasn’t been said by you!