Diversify, diversify, diversify! Anyone with an investment portfolio knows this is wise advice. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, we are told. A good idea for investors perhaps, yet does this sage counsel apply to writers as well? In my experience, the answer is ‘not necessarily.’
During my past seven years as a freelance writer, I have stuck my toe into the waters of several writing genres. I’ve written and sold romance, mystery, how-to articles, Christian devotions, and even poetry. Yet, what I find sells most was what I love most to write personal essays.
While still in college, I discovered that I could extract a story from almost any of my everyday experiences, ranging from supermarket shopping, to a visit to the beach, to shoveling snow. While my personal essays didn’t always pay as much as my fiction or magazine work, I did enjoy crafting them, and breezed through them. The more personal essays I wrote, the more adept I became. As a result, the pieces sold quickly, making up the monetary difference. And, I was enjoying my work to boot!
Eventually, I noticed that many of my personal essays followed a similar thread. The theme of synchronicity and what some people term ‘miraculous’ or ‘angelic’ happenings. That theme continued to be one that I explored in my writing over and over. I became intrigued by this phenomenon that each time I had one of those unexplainable raise-the hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck experiences, I logged it into a journal I kept specifically for that purpose.
By honing my ability to present this subject, I was able to have my writing included in more magazines and anthologies, and even made a taped appearance on a national television talk-show to discuss one of my stories involving a woman I considered a mysterious angel.
So…review your writing. What do you love to write? What themes continue to pop up over and over again? What subjects are dear to you? Is it gardening, romance, numismatics, or something far-out, like aliens or, ahem, angels? When you discover the answer, keep a journal of ideas. Apply those ideas to your writing whether you craft fiction or non-fiction, and see where those ideas lead you. Who knows? You may even wind up on TV.
Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island where she shares a home with her husband Bill and an adventurous tabby named Samson. Her writing has been included in such publications as Woman’s World, Guideposts, Ocean and many Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Currently, she is working on a book featuring a fictional beachside town and its quirky cast of characters.