And I still take them, for the most part.
Being able to write clearly about a topic you don't like is good experience for a writer. For one thing, you're bound to learn stuff you didn't know before. For another, you'll be that much more prepared should you have to write on the topic again later.
After I had been writing full time for a year or so, I was offered a series of articles as a sort of advice columnist on concrete. People wrote in with questions on how to make sure concrete cured properly, the different finishes and designs you could do with concrete, how to minimize risk of cracking, and the like.
I was reluctant at first, but once I did a few columns, I started to really get into it. Not only did I learn a lot, I got to draw upon my background and education in engineering. I was actually sad when that job was over.
If you have been asked to write on a topic you either know little about or don't find stimulating, here are a couple of tips. First, if it's a multi-article assignment, ask your client if you can send him or her your first article for feedback. This will give you valuable information that can keep you from veering off-track with subsequent pieces.
Second, if the unsavory topic is only one of many assignments you're juggling, try to break it up so that you do a couple of these assignments, followed by a couple of assignments on a topic you enjoy. It's tough to get through a day when you're writing article after article about a dull topic, and it can be reflected in the quality your writing.
Finally, when you're done with the work and the client is satisfied, mentally pat yourself on the back. A couple of weeks later, reread your articles. You will probably be impressed and may even consider putting one or two of them in your portfolio for future potential clients.
Even if you're in a position where you can easily turn down assignments you don't like, don't automatically dismiss them when offered. Sometimes a challenge is just what you need to sharpen your writing and maintain your reputation for quality.
Top Photo Credit: Clare Bloomfield / freedigitalphotos.net
***Edit: There was no post last week because we were all in countdown mode with my daughter's pregnancy. Sunday she gave birth to a perfect and healthy baby boy, and if he takes after his mom and me, he'll be writing his own stories soon as he can operate a keyboard. Here I am holding him when he was less than 24 hours old: