If you want to become a writer, you need to be adept at becoming an expert on any topic assigned to you. We use the word “expert” liberally here, of course — we don’t mean someone who can match the skills of a guy who has a doctorate and spent a decade in the field. Instead, it pertains to writing with sufficient general knowledge and up-to-date information regarding the topic.
How do you get that kind of knowledge within a short time? Here are some avenues:
- Subscribe to professional blogs. Put your news reader to good use and subscribe to professional-looking blogs that focus on the field. We put emphasis on professional, since crap blogs with little useful information litter the web — those will just clog up your feeds. You don’t have to read all the articles, either. Seeing the headlines alone can clue you in. If you find something interesting (or needed in what you’re writing), you can dive in.
- Study the way the articles are written. Look for articles that appear to be aimed at the kind of audience you’re writing for. Those are the ones you want to learn from and emulate.
- Read introductory books. There are plenty of condensed, 101-type books out there for almost any field. Pick up one for the subject you’re brushing up on and read it.
- Don’t stop at reading. Passively taking in information can only go so far. You need to apply what you learn in some form, lest have it go away in a few days. Write mini-articles or features, even non-commissioned ones — they will help your retention immensely.