7 tips for writing about a boring subject

It’s called ‘work’ for a reason, and they pay you to do it, but grinding out X-hundred words on a tedious topic needn’t crush your soul. Try these tactics.


Tasked with covering a subject you find boring? Assigned a writing project that puts you to sleep? Whether you’re writing about a B2B or a B2C topic, your work needn’t stay uninteresting.

Here are ideas for handling assignments you wouldn’t typically pick:

Picture your audience

Adding a face to your audience—even an imaginary face—instantly personalizes your work. Pretend you’re writing your human resources article for your spouse or your college kid. Picture your mom or grandma reading the piece you’re tackling on mold growth.

Although envisioning a specific person may seem counterintuitive for business-to-business topics, the truth is that businesses don’t read articles; people do. Keep that in mind, and you’ll make your work less mind-numbing for yourself and your readers.

Mix it up

Just because you’re writing about Web coding or software packages doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Try adding a bit of humor to the writing, the way posts at Carol Roth often do.

Look for a personal story to incorporate. In many cases, when these small touches are done right, they actually go a long way toward improving your overall work.

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Free-write

Often, the hardest part about finishing an assignment is starting it. So, rather than letting yourself procrastinate for reasons of boredom, free-write something.

After you’ve gathered some initial research, open up a blank Word document and start writing anything you like. Most of what comes out will get deleted, but as you’re writing with free rein, you will usually find some good content mixed in, too.

Seek inspiration

For almost every topic, there’s somebody out there who finds it interesting. There are websites about the plastics industry, blogs about metal fabrication, and more. So, set out to find the people who get excited about your subject matter—Google it, look for blogs, check Pinterest, and see how competitors cover your topic. In the process, you might find a new perspective that helps you move forward.

Work now, not later

If you’re like most writers, covering the less-interesting topics right away will produce the best results. When you put off the boring topics until later, they become even harder to attack than before. So, dig into your project when your research is still fresh and knock it out.

Offer yourself an incentive

Sometimes the best way to slog through a difficult assignment is to promise yourself a handsome reward at the end of it. Beyond your paycheck, offer yourself a specific incentive for finishing the task.

Maybe you’ll go for a walk or buy yourself a croissant after that brief but annoying blog post. Maybe you’ll go away for the weekend after that two-month assignment. Whatever motivates you to get writing, use it.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

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