If you’ve been asked to write an opinion piece (or, if you’ve pitched for the piece of work and got it) then writing such pieces for the first time can be scary.
All sorts of fears run through your mind. What if I get negative feedback? What if someone criticises me? What if I’m made to look a fool?
This is understandable, and for some inexperienced writers, these fears manifest themselves in pieces that end up putting across a lot of information but no clear opinion.
Along the way to becoming a great writer you’ll need to learn to overcome this problem. Here’s my advice.
First of all, you need to realise that when people read your writing they want to see what you think. People want to read stuff by writers who have something to say.
Secondly, don’t ever think that everyone will agree with what you say. That will never ever happen, especially if you’re writing political pieces. But that’s OK. You’re not writing so that everyone will agree with you.
Thirdly, make sure your argument has some grounding; whether it’s basic research or reflecting some widely held view, whatever. Something that, if you had to stand in front of someone and argue the case for your piece, you could give it a good go.
So, with those three things in mind, get out there and write confidently. And remember the most important thing of all. Trust your instincts. If it feels like it’s right to express a particular view, then go with that. Invariably you’ll be right to do so.
That way you’ll create interesting and stimulating pieces that might divide the crowd, but at least the crowd will be interested in reading.