How to Write When You’re Not The Expert

Experiment IIISoftware application developers release new programs in Beta all the time.  Technically speaking, Alpha and Beta Testing is a formal part of their development process, known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

At the UAT part of the development process, developers know that not every desired feature of the final end product has been built in yet, but they still need to get their work out there for users to interact with.

Developers do test their own work, but after a while they become blind to certain aspects of functionality since they get to close to it and tend to primarily see it from their perspective as a developer, not as an end user.

Developers depend on user feedback to verify that what they have built up to that point in time works at the foundational level first before building it out further.

The same is true for writers.  The best way to write better is to regularly get your writing out there and look for feedback on whether it meets functional requirements, for both the writer and the reader, or not.

Starting a blog and even participating in writing projects like this Group Writing Project are forms of beta testing for a writer which serve as a perfectly viable avenue to eventually becoming the subject matter expert or thought leader in your field of choice.

The key to writing in beta is to artfully acknowledge that is what you are doing and building from there.  Following is my advice on how to get there:

8 Tips

1. Have a Plan

Have a plan for what you want to accomplish and why. You won’t know if you are achieving your goal if you never set any.

2. Don’t Claim to be an Expert, If You’re Not.

It is important to be confident, but don’t be misleading or arrogant about what you know or don’t know, your readers will see through that quite quickly.

3. Document Your Sources.

Let your readers know what you are basing your insights on; that way you can isolate feedback on your assumptions and conclusions from that on your sources.

4. Provide Some Form of Value.

If you aren’t the subject-matter expert yet, then be helpful by adding value in other ways.  Share your insights and point the reader to resources that will fill any gaps between what you offer and what they may still need.  Don’t write junk with little or no added value.

5. Ask for Feedback.

Solicit feedback directly and indirectly, offline and online, in order to work out the kinks in the basic premise of what you are trying to do.  Remember: that’s what beta testing is for.  Be patient and open-minded, too, since you don’t always get feedback when or in the form that you would like to.

6. Always Be Learning.

Even experts were beginners at one time.  Be involved in the industry that you want to develop expertise in and constantly look for learning opportunities. 

7. Join Communities.  

It is important to interact with colleagues with all levels of experience and knowledge.  Old-timers often help out the up-and-comers.  It helps everyone to become more aware of a variety of  perspectives and points of view on a topic.

8. Develop Your Communication Skills, Too.

Being a thought-leader is not just about being an expert in your subject matter.  You need to also be able to effectively communicate that expertise as well. Learn how to communicate in a variety of ways and with a variety of media forms.

BONUS TIP:  Always Be In Beta Mode!

Becoming an expert or thought-leader is not something that is ever once and done.  It is an ongoing process no matter what level you are at in the process.  Since there is always something new to learn, always operate in a humble and curious Beta mode.  You’ll never go wrong with the right attitude and a positive approach.

Now, get back to your Beta-ing.  And, Enjoy!


Photo Credit: title=”Experiment III” by Quinn Ryan Mattingly, on Flickr



  1. Hi. This headline caught my in the comment section on Problogger. I like this list, especially #5 – it is very important to ask for feedback to know how you can improve yourself. Item #2 is important too, but I would add that even if you are not an expert, you have may have a unique voice, which you can encourage others to listen to.
    Patrick recently posted…How to Avoid Information Overload, 6 Easy Ways to Pare Down Your ConsumptionMy Profile

  2. Nice post Helen, I would just add “Read whenever possible” as this is best for improving your writing expressions.
    Check out my post as a part of the problogger contest: 7 steps to make a better decision about anything
    Michael V recently posted…7 steps to make a better decision about anythingMy Profile

  3. Great post, and I also found it via the Problogger ‘How to’ link up. I think all your points are pertinent and it’s important to be humble and not shout from the rooftops. I like your idea about always being in Beta mode!
    Johanna at ZigaZag WA Travel & Lifestyle recently posted…How do I create an effective system to drive traffic to my blog?My Profile

  4. Great post. The Plan is so important, and so is the feedback.
    Corinne recently posted…Reflection #521 – Kids Riding in the Feria, Southern FranceMy Profile

  5. 6 and 7 are my favorites on this list. I believe its always best to have people who are interested and like minded with you around.

    Nice post.
    shamsudeen recently posted…Why You Will Never Make Money From BloggingMy Profile

  6. veronika romanchuk says:

    Dear Helen,
    I am impressed by your writing.
    This article is exactly what I was looking for- How to organize your writing time and skills in order to be productive and achieve your goal.
    Thank you !!! Very helpful.

  7. Great advice on writing. Writing and software building do have a lot of similarities. Love the beta testing idea and metaphor.
    Harry @ GoalsOnTrack recently posted…Positive Affirmations and Long-Term Goals Change Your LuckMy Profile

  8. Valuable information. Lucky me I found your site unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this accident did not took place earlier!

    I bookmarked it.
    Kelle recently posted…KelleMy Profile

  9. Exercise – while any perform out will help, there are very particular workouts that burns up up
    cellulite cellulite quickly. It is like there is an emotional wall between mind
    and body with the connection switched off.
    Don’t go to the table telling people you’re “eating healthy this holiday season”.
    protein supplements recently posted…protein supplementsMy Profile

  10. Good information. Lucky me I recently found your bloig by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmared it for later!
    Muoi recently posted…MuoiMy Profile

  11. In short, the aforementioned are some major factors you need to know
    about when pursuing a muscle-building goal.

    Only man made fats such as, Hydrogenated and trans fats
    harm us. For women, under those same circumstances, they could easily consume 3,500 to 4,000
    dmz supplement order recently posted…dmz supplement orderMy Profile

  12. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally
    educative andd amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve
    hit the nail on thhe head. The issue is something too few people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I came across this during my search
    for something concerning this.
    Jasa Statistik recently posted…Jasa StatistikMy Profile

  13. I every time spent my half an hour to read this webb site’s posts every day along with
    a cup of coffee.
    Olive recently posted…OliveMy Profile

  14. Attractive component of content. I just stumbled upon your
    website and in accession capital to say that I acquire in fact enjoyed
    account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment or
    even I fulfillment you get entry to persistently rapidly.
    My spouse and I just read this phenomenal manual by Dean Graziosi recently posted…My spouse and I just read this phenomenal manual by Dean GraziosiMy Profile

  15. whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading yoour posts.
    Stay up thhe great work! Youu understand, many people are looking around
    for this information, you can help them greatly.
    Joann recently posted…JoannMy Profile

  16. Set a solid basis for your sewing skills.
    Bert recently posted…BertMy Profile


  1. […] How To Write When You Are Not The Expert | Figmentations […]

  2. download emulated turbo c for windows 7 32 bit

    How To Write When You Are Not The Expert | Figmentations

  3. download turbo c version 4.5 free

    How To Write When You Are Not The Expert | Figmentations

  4. period tracker download for pc

    How To Write When You Are Not The Expert | Figmentations

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge