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How to Add Gravitas to Your Writing

May 22nd, 2013

One of the oldest sayings about writing is ‘Write what you know’, which I agree with in principle. When you write about what you know it’s quicker and easier as you don’t have to spend hours researching facts and figures about your chosen subject – you should know how to put your hands on what you want quickly and efficiently. Plus, if the subject is something you know a lot about or are qualified in, you can use your own quotes to add gravitas to the piece.

But, there’s nothing wrong with you tackling subject areas you know little about. It’s just a case of finding the information you need, and there are plenty of places you can do that, and then adding a sprinkling of quotes from experts, to add the authority your writing needs.

‘But, I don’t know any experts!’ I hear you cry. Well, neither do I but I know where to find them and I’m going to tell you. Right, there are a number of ways to go about it and I think an example might be best here:

You’re writing an article about the effects of pollution on asthma in children. You could start by getting official figures for the levels of pollution in the UK at the present time. Now, you could probably find these online quite easily and all you’d need to do would be to include them in your writing at the appropriate point. But, if you were to get a quote from an expert in pollution, it’d add an air of authority to your creative writing and show that you’d taken the time to get the figures right.

So, where do you get an expert quote from? You can start by googling the subject area to see if you can find people who’ve written books on the subject. If you find someone, it’s likely they’ll be more than happy to give you a quote in exchange for a mention in the article – it is free advertising for them after all. And, when people have written a book on a subject, it kind of labels them as an expert.

Or, you can use the ‘find an expert’ services offered by universities, such as Durham University, who provide – ‘a resource for journalists seeking informed comment on a wide variety of topical issues.’ Academic quotes from professors and the like will give your article plenty of gravitas and show you’ve taken the time to conduct proper research into the area you are writing about.

Then there are question and answer sites like Just Answer, where you enter a question and wait for an expert to answer it. If you are happy with the answer, you can offer to give a fee – but only consider this if you’ve already got a firm comission!

You could also use one of any number of websites that have been set up specifically for you to contact experts such as, ExpertClick, ProfNet, or AllExperts.

So, if you can’t find an expert in amongst that lot, there really might not be one!

For a more comprehensive list of online expert sources see The Writers Journalist’s Toolbox and if you use any sources that you think others would benefit from, do let me know.

 

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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