This is a bad excuse: "So many people have already written about it already. What more could I add?"

People overvalue the “what” when it comes to content. The topic of a speech, the plot of a movie, the “what’s it about?” of a book.

But in fact, the “what” can have very little to do with whether that content is worth listening to. Off the top of my head, I can think of short stories by Alice Munro, Carol Joyce Oates, Yukio Mishima, James Baldwin, and D.H. Lawrence that were so moving, I was shaken up for days if not weeks afterwards.

All of those stories - if you had asked me what they were about - would not have sounded worth reading.

We ask about the plot, or the topic of the presentation, or the storyline, because we’re used to the “what” part of content being valuable in assessing whether something is worth our time.

When really, the “how” and “why” are much more important. Don’t say this: “So many people have already written about it. What more could I add that hasn’t already been said?”

There could have been thousands before you, but that doesn’t matter.

Those people aren’t you. If you shared your perspective, it would be driven by a different why and how, and you’d reach a different kind of reader who would benefit from hearing your voice.

So please don’t hold back because someone else might have already written about something before. 

That’s a bad excuse. If you’re going to use an excuse, find a better one.

UncategorizedWes Kao