For bloggers and writers, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is indispensable. In terms of a writing “how-to” guide, it’s one of the few that have been canonized. There a few good reasons for this. One of them is because each little nugget of a chapter stands on its own. One of those chapters is titled “A List of Topics for Writing Practice,” from which I found inspiration for this post.
As a lawyer, especially one who works in the solo or small firm setting, you’ve no doubt seen that lawyer blogs have become more important. We can endlessly debate whether or not blogging and using social media is necessary for success, but if you are blogging, and because the blank page can make or break you, here’s a list of 13 topics for lawyer blogs:
- Start with your memories. A lawyer’s experience is the sum of what’s happened in the past. Goldberg instructs: “Begin with ‘I remember.’”
- What gets you riled up about the practice of law? About an area of law? Write in terms of love and hate.
- Choose something you might not have given much thought to in the past, like why you went to law school.
- If you’re a litigator, write about the different courthouses and courtrooms you’ve been in.
- Write about a “day in the life.” Be as specific as possible.
- Describe your office with as many concrete details as possible (sounds, colors, smells).
- Write about “leaving,” Goldberg says, like leaving your law firm, walking a client through divorce, helping a family deal with a wrongful death case.
- What is your first memory as a lawyer?
- What kind of client do you love? Hate? Why?
- Describe the perfect case. Then explain how the real world often screws up perfection.
- Write about your first heated argument with opposing counsel.
- Take a newspaper headline that relates to your area of practice and go from there.
- What kind of lawyer are you? If you’re the proverbial bulldog, what makes it so?
With every one of these topics, as you sit down to write, keep Goldberg’s instruction in mind:
Don’t be abstract. Write the real stuff. Be honest and detailed.
If you do, not only will you have an endless source of topics to write about, but you also might have a lawyer blog worth its salt.