Sunday, December 9, 2007

What Should You Write About?

I read an interesting article over at Write-From-Home by C. Hope Clark. She points out that a lot of writers have "day jobs" that they work in addition to building a freelance writing career. Ninety-nine percent of the time, these full-time jobs provide fodder for article ideas, so if you're currently in this type of situation, embrace the fact and use it to create a list of topic ideas you could research and write in the future. Hopefully, if you want to branch out into full-time writing, you'll be able to one day, but in the meantime take the opportunity to build up your portfolio. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about.

I've worked as a waitress, newspaper reporter, public relations consultant and assistant media planner. If I thought long and hard, I'm sure I could come up with a topic idea for each occupation. Such as:

Waitress - How wait staff and kitchen staff can peacefully co-exist.
Newspaper Reporter - How to conduct an insightful interview.
Public Relations Consultant - How to effectively pitch a great news story.
Assistant Media Planner (in an agency setting) - How to build good relationships with media reps.

And of course, being a mom. One of my first ideas that sold was an article about how to prepare your meals before bringing home a new baby. People may bring you loads of baby gifts and clothes after the birth, but they don't always remember that a home-cooked meal is always appreciated by the new parents. They are usually too tired and frazzled to properly shop for ingredients and cook dinner every night. This idea sold at least three times.

See? There's plenty of material out there, you just have to brainstorm it and put it together. Can you come up with your own list of topics based on the jobs you've worked before?

1 comment:

Amanda Nicole said...

I'm currently reading a very helpful book I picked up from the library. It's "Writing Articles About the World Around You," by Marcia Yudkin.

It's a tad outdated in that it's geared toward article writing for print publications, but I'm finding it's really relevant to scanning your own head for blog topics and queries to online publications.