The phrase “Go west, young man!” was first written by John Babsone Lane Soule in an 1851 edition of the Terra Haute Express, but Horace Greeley is the man who used these words to capture the imaginations of young men across the country. In Greeley’s post-Civil War time, the American West was a symbol of freedom and endless possibility.
Today –- a century and a half later –- these words have taken on a larger meaning. When someone tells you to “go west,” they aren’t telling you to jump on the next plane to California. Although, as an Ohioan, I’d like to do exactly that. They are telling you to go out into the world and try something new -– something that is outside your range of experience.
New experiences are something that all content writers should strive for. To be the best in the competitive world of writing, you need diversity and a wild imagination. So step outside your comfort zone and do something you’ve never tried before!
Chasing Your Dreams
Most writers are never quite content with their specialties. There are plenty of law writers that would love to write about gardening, or marketing authors that want to tackle the latest home decor trends. However, many writers balk at the idea of jumping into unknown waters with little to no relevant experience. Fortunately, it’s not terribly difficult to get experience in your interest areas. If you want to broaden your horizons, try one of these suggestions:
- Work one or two days a week over the summer at your local greenhouse for gardening experience. It won’t be long before you know the difference between a petunia and a portulaca, and you’ll gain knowledge about growth habits and proper care.
- Volunteer for a suburban housing project for hands-on construction experience. You may even be able to assist the plumbers, electricians, and HVAC techs so that you can learn more about those fields too.
- Busy real estate agents always need someone to hang signs, take pictures, and write property descriptions. Take an internship with a realtor to break into the real estate industry. Along the way, you’ll learn the lingo and get a feel for housing trends.
Whatever field catches your fancy, there are always ways to get some experience. The biggest obstacle is finding the time and motivation to venture forth.
Dipping Your Toe in the Water
Even if you really don’t have the time or inclination to do something big, there are plenty of little things that will boost your experience base. Is there a wild and crazy renovation project you’ve been meaning to do? Do it –- take pictures throughout the process and blog about it. Knitting, scrapbooking, cooking, and other hobbies will get you some craft or home living experience. Take up the pencil, paint brush, or camera and learn how to make your own art as both a creative exercise and inspiration to write about the arts.
If you’re making a freelance living, then you have a unique opportunity that people of the 9-to-5 world often don’t have. Take the pioneering spirit of the Old West to heart –- make time in your schedule to do something fun that you can reference as experience later on.
Amber K enjoys writing about home improvement, gardening, and the great outdoors. When she’s not sitting in front of a computer, she can be found developing strategies to conquer the world –- or at least her own little piece of it!