How can you write a book—or an article—when you’re not a professional in the field you’re writing about? Who are you to tell me how to deal with certain things in my life when you are struggling with them yourself? Do you have a degree in that field?
I fight a daily battle writing. The problem normally isn’t coming up with ideas—my inner voices make sure that. The problem comes in when I’m writing on a topic where I’m not perfect. Maybe it’s not even that I’m not perfect, but it’s an area where I know that I need to improve. The voice inside my head yells at me, “You can’t tell people how to improve on this because you’re not perfect yourself!”
Does this sound familiar? Does this voice keep you from writing about topics that interest you, but you’re too afraid to voice your opinion on them?
Let me share an example with you. I was recently considering writing a book about marriage and relationships. I don’t have a degree in this field. I do hold a 28-year-old certificate showing my involvement in the field. Okay, it’s my marriage certificate. The reason I was interested in writing about this topic is that I feel I’ve had a successful marriage. I know the challenges of being married. Add to that the fact I am recently retired and spend more time than ever with my spouse (and enjoy it).
So I opened my writing application, came up with the snazzy title, and put down two bullet points to write about. That’s when the voice crept in. It told me that my relationship isn’t perfect. It explained how I’ve not been a perfect husband. It explained how I’ve not been the perfect father. It explained that I’ve not been the perfect grandfather. So I stopped my outline, hit save, and went on the something else.
So now I’m writing an article about how I should go back and work on that book. How I should fight with my inner critic and write the words that have made my marriage successful and that may help others. I guess if I titled the book How to Have the Perfect Marriage then my inner hypocritical voice would have a semi-valid reason for echoing in my head. But that’s not the title. That’s not what I’m shooting for. I’m not shooting for perfection. My target is happiness. How to live happily in your marriage.
This may have sounded a little rambling. But seeing it on paper, although digital paper, helps with my resolve to hush that hypocritical voice.
Each of us has been through our own experiences. No, we may not be perfect in our fields. We may not be perfect in our relationships. In fact, we may do nothing perfectly. But, I’d wager you’ve learned things and I’ve learned things. I read non-fiction books to learn about the things that other people have experienced. I read these books to learn how other people triumphed over their own personal issues, problems, and challenges. I read these books so I don’t have to experience the same pains. And if I have experienced the same pains, I read these books to find out how others have moved beyond that pain.
So what am I saying? I’m saying this, share your experiences with us. Document these challenges and share your triumphs. You don’t have to be perfect to write a book about your challenges and triumphs. It’s more important to share your victories and ways you’ve overcome so that others can follow in your stead.
Two words: Write it!