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Ideas And Markets For Your Writing

I suppose many of us want one or two clients that are easy to please and will pay us a generous living wage forever, or close to it. An ideal situation to be sure, but one that isn’t easy to find.

One approach is to write articles. I don’t mean SEO articles for pennies, but articles for magazines, trade magazines and the handful of websites that pay decently.

Start with your copy of Writers Market and a pad of Post-It Flags, or small post it notes. Page through the magazines looking for ideas you can research right in your own home town, and flag those. Then make some calls or go visit or do the research – or submit a query and then do the research.


Or, walk through your downtown or mall and look for interesting things that are happening. For example, a nursery might be doing something to teach people about growing organic vegetables. Or a nail salon might be using a new, perhaps less toxic process. Or a new market might be opening.  Then go to Writer’s Market

Do you see what I mean?

Ideas truly are everywhere and there are also lots of markets. Here are some more possible ideas.

  • Businesses where you shop for trade magazines. Trade magazines can pay surprisingly well and welcome new writers.
  • Mall management. Think beyond the stores – what about mall management or mall security or both?
  • Walk a small industrial center. I love these places. Go during normal business hours, park and just wander to see what you can find. I’ve run into a world renown maker of wooden weaving tools; next to him was a business selling chunks of hardwoods for all sorts of purposes. I ran into a hang glider designer before I knew they existed, and, because I’m in San Diego, there are always surf and skate board designers, some of whom are famous and others who create real art. Any would have made a great article or two.
  • Your library, both writing about libraries, or librarians, or children’s programs and as another place you can generate ideas.

  • How churches / charities are handling the recession. This could be a church you attend or one you don’t. Local yellow pages can help you locate charities.

As you’re talking to businesses, charities, etc. keep in mind that any of them may also want to hire you as a writer. Often you’ll have to help them make the connection. Do your interview then after you’ve closed it, just mention that you also do copy writing or corporate writing for small business. Pause just long enough to give them your card and to let them ask a question if they have one.

When the article is published, make sure they get at least one copy. That’s a good time to ask them if they’ve ever hired a writer or to again gently suggest they might want to hire you. If they say no, and many will, you can then ask them if they know anyone who might.

The idea, of course, is to maximize your efforts. It’s so easy to just do, say an interview, and never ever realize there may be another, different kind of writing opportunity with the same person or in the same place.

I can just hear one or two of you saying “… but that seems so pushy…” No, it’s not. Not if you’re polite and always keep a real attitude of willingness to be of service. You have a talent that many need – far more than you realize. Letting people know about that talent is just good business.

How do you find ideas, market them & then maximize them?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • “You have a talent that many need – far more than you realize. Letting people know about that talent is just good business.”

    I love that part. I’m one of those that is paranoid about being pushy as well and I have been working on that recently.

    But you make a good point though about ideas being everywhere. I’ve been looking into starting niche sites and there are kinds of ideas in all kinds of places.
    Christopher recently posted..Is It Really Worth it to Always Be Accessible How About Not AccessibleMy Profile

  • Anne, brilliant idea about letting them know you do business writing at the same time. You’ve really inspired me with this one – thanks! 🙂

  • Melissa

    Thank you, Anne! As always for the great information. You gave me quite a few ideas.

    I scour my newspaper for any chance that they might use a freelancer’s article. I finally found a chance, but I haven’t taken it. It’s for the “home” section. I’ll have to work on that! I’m so busy with summer school right now, so my mind is busy elsewhere.

    I agree with you-that giving your business card or offering your services in case they may ever need it, isn’t pushy. I’m just so shy, I wouldn’t have the guts to do so! Once I can really dedicate my time to writing, I’ll make a website/blog and business cards.

    Thank you again for your wonderful tips of advice.

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