One way to increase income is to write and sell more. But, how do you overcome inertia? Consider what excites you. When you write about that, readers will sense your enthusiasm and they will keep reading. This, in turn, will please editors and result in more sales. But, writing about what excites you does not mean that, if you are currently into making homemade crullers, your only market has to be Doughnut Digest.
We must connect the dots – or the doughnuts – between our passions and their potential markets. Think about those doughnuts. You could, of course, write a how-to piece on making them. But, think beyond the obvious. The editor of a disabilities magazine might welcome a story on how visually impaired cooks can safely make doughnuts. Perhaps the editor of a business magazine could use a piece on marketing baked goods. The healthy-living editor might appreciate something on tasty alternatives to deep-fried doughnuts.
But, don’t stop there. We can often weave our interests into pieces that are seemingly unrelated. For instance, I recently discovered an offbeat tourist attraction in my area: a two-story outhouse. Fascinating! While it make sense to write about that directly, I also connected the dots to an article on education. I recounted the quest I went on to gather information about this unusual building. This anecdote introduced a piece on how we should encourage children to ask questions, since this is a key way they – and we – learn.
Another time I had discovered how good cannolis taste, and yet I had planned to submit something to a magazine for those involved with Christian schools. So, I wrote an article on good gifts for teachers, mentioning cannolis throughout the piece. For instance, I pointed out that some teachers would love a box of cannolis as a gift. There are countless ways to sprinkle what excites us throughout a piece, and doing so will keep us entertained as we write.
Anything that piques your interest might work. Recently I stopped at a bakery but, when I entered, I found more than doughnuts and dumplings. The owner also serves meals, including all-day breakfast. He even offers catering services. I never knew that, though; the place usually looked closed. He admitted that business was slow, yet the food was good and the atmosphere was pleasant. Unfortunately, he didn’t advertise and his location could have been better. Could I write a piece on marketing tips for places like his? (Or could I use this anecdote in an article for WritersWeekly about, say, making more money from writing?)
His menu offered something called poutine. What, exactly, was that? It turns out to be french fries smothered in gravy and cheese. Could I write about that? Could I weave it into an article about something different? That Canadian dish interests me and I want to write about it, and share it with readers. That bakery got me excited because I found a new place to eat and I want the owner to succeed.
We come across ideas like this all the time. Think about what excites you; how can you turn that into a sale? Can you use your enthusiasm in a seemingly unrelated piece? Some interests we have are perennial; others, we soon brush off like doughnut dust. Either way, the subjects that excite us just might excite editors. So, try overcoming inertia by connecting your passions to the pieces you write.
Christine Laws is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader living in Amity, Maine. Read the first chapter of her new book for Christian writers here.