3 Important Things I’ve Learned About Being an Opinion Writer

I’ve been writing opinion pieces about everything under the sun – politics, social issues, movies, and media – since high school. Over these past few years, I’ve learned so much about not only how to be a better writer, but the importance of giving voice to your opinions, no matter how insignificant they may seem. So, if you are new to this area of writing or are a seasoned op-ed columnist who just needs a reminder, here are just three of the most important lessons I’ve learned about being an opinion writer.

1. Expertise is not a requirement.

 You don’t have to be an expert about your topic to be able to write about it. (Credit: PicJumbo)

So often, people have the misconception that in order to write about a topic, you have to be an expert on it. Are people who write about professional sports, professional athletes? Are people who critique, filmmakers or actors? So, why should you have to be an expert to write about anything? Opinion writers for all sorts of publications write about anything and everything, and I can assure you most of them are not experts on the topics they write about; I also don’t think anyone expects them to be. The important thing is that you do your research and back your arguments or views up with facts – and anyone can do so with the click of a button on the internet these days.

2. Be fearless.

Screw what others think and write your heart out! (Credit: Kathmandu Post)

Sometimes it’s scary to make your voice heard, especially when your work is appearing in newspapers or on websites that have a large audience. Your mind may be racing with thoughts of what others may say in the comments section about your piece. Still, it’s important to go with your gut, and if your gut is telling you to write something, you should write it loud and proud! Don’t worry about what other people have to say because, though many may disagree with you, there are likely to be just as many people who do agree.

3. Your opinion matters.

Just keep writing because what you write matters. (Credit: The Incremental Life)

The most important thing to remember as an opinion writer is that your voice matters. You may wonder what power your singular voice may have; it may seem so insignificant in the sea of voices struggling to be heard every minute of every day. I’ve often wondered these same things myself, like what importance does what I say have? How will it end up changing anything? But I have been proven wrong time and again. After publishing articles in my former college’s paper, people often reached out to tell me how impactful my pieces were and how much they resonated with them. Receiving messages like this is the greatest gift to any writer; it reminds you that what you’re doing, while it sometimes seems useless and insignificant to you, can be so powerful.

When it comes to opinion writing, you always have to remember that your voice is a vehicle for change and education, and you must use it whenever and however you can.

 

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