Remember that child in primary school you really didn't like because they took the toy you were playing with? No matter how trivial, your opinion on them probably hasn't changed much. But could you express that opinion to them if you needed to? Would it force you to re-evaluate the opinion you had formed in the first place?
We express opinions everyday, without even realising it. Standing in a supermarket isle gives you plenty of opportunities to express your opinion. You've already chosen your preferred supermarket, and now you're analysing the different brands and their prices. Simply picking up a certain box of tissues has you expressing your opinion on which box is prettiest and how many you need. So why is it that as soon as you are asked to write down your opinions for other people to read, it seems to become so challenging?
So how do you actually form and express your opinion? I don't know if there's a specific method necessarily, but there are some things you should try to keep in mind when writing an opinion piece.
Having some experience is key. Writing an opinion piece on something you have no experience with will generally make for a weaker piece than if you had experience in the area you are writing about. I know that when you have experience in something that has caused a very strong opinion to form in your mind, you can write an opinion piece with much more ease.
Not everyone will share your opinion. And that's ok, it is your opinion after all. But remember to look into what other people think and try to understand their opinions too. This will make your argument more well-rounded and will also help you to understand if your opinion is a common one or not.
Acknowledge those opinions
Actually including one or two of these other opinions in your own writing shows that you respect other's opinions. However it can also be an opportunity for you to challenge these opinions with more of your own. Just make sure you treat the situation with some form of sensitivity. Some people dislike having their views challenged. What's important, too, is allowing your own opinion to be changed - be open-minded!
Keep it personal
This is a piece about your opinion, so make it sound that way. You can mention that friends or family have experienced the same thing you have, or that they share your opinion. By the same token, though, writing an entire piece based on what your sister thinks and then blindly agreeing with her won't make for the best opinion piece.
Finally, think outside the box
Writing a piece on an opinion that five other people with the same view as you have already written won't have as much impact as if you take a bit of a leap of faith and write about something either that most people don't write about or perhaps that people are afraid to tackle. Just remember to keep a level of sensitivity if you do. Read the five other people's pieces and write what they've neglected to.
Remember, you're showcasing your opinion and why you think the way you do, not challenging other people's.
If you're ever stuck, there are some great opinion pieces on the site already that you can use for inspiration!
Image courtesy of Flickr/mikecogh