I was recently linked to a writing contest with a very nice prize. All you had to do was write about one of a few certain topics. I’m not going to give any further detail about it, and I’m most certainly not going to tell which topic I chose, because it’s very controversial, and this blog just isn’t the place for that sort of thing.
I looked at the topics for just a moment when one of them caught my eye. I thought it would be challenging and relevant, so I picked it. It was an issue I’d never really had much of an opinion on. As I was writing the essay, I found out how much I actually knew about the topic and how much it actually mattered to me. It was nothing short of shocking. I normally keep out of controversial stuff because I can see the pros and cons to both sides, and nobody wants to hear me argue for both. They want me to pick one or the other.
And suddenly, I now have an opinion–a fairly strong one at that. How do I deal with that? (I don’t actually know. Please help?)
So, what I discovered while writing this is that you don’t always know how you feel about something until you write about it. You also probably know more than you think, too. And if you don’t, then you can research and figure it out from there.
Take some time and pick a topic you don’t have an opinion on. Write about it for a while. Then, start to argue one side or the other. Or both and see which one you argue more in the favor of over the course of the piece you’re writing.
This is important: You don’t have to share it with anyone. I know I like to talk about how you should get other people’s opinions on your work, but if your topic is controversial, you don’t have to talk to anyone about it. This is for your own personal discovery. Not everything has to be shown to someone. But you can if you want to. Maybe they can help you sort your feelings out about it. It’s up to you, of course, as always.
The point of this is to say that you can learn a lot about yourself if you take the time to discover your opinion. Plus, it’s a good writing exercise. Have at it!