|Your can go from this...|
If you're a story teller, writing fiction may come easily-- you may have a journal or index cards full of ideas just simmering and waiting to be born. But writing articles means generating ideas that are particular to magazine markets and reader's specific interests.
Don't despair, here are 5 great resources to help you generate the perfect article idea:
- Look to your own passions. Do you have a hobby or skill or interest? No kidding, there's a magazine for almost anything out there. I like to kayak but am certainly no expert. For me, getting out on the lake is a spiritual as well as physical exercise--and I used that very idea to generate an article for a magazine with a spiritual bent.
- Look to interesting people you know. You probably know people with interesting jobs, hobbies, avocations that could make incredible subjects or references for an article. Recently, I was able to write a short profile of a former student, an artist, I know for an upcoming issue in an art magazine. I know nothing about painting, but I know her story is inspirational and her work is amazing. I pitched it, and they bought it. The best part was being able to help promote this aspiring artist's work! Now that was satisfying and fun.
- Listen. Sometimes terrific ideas can come from listening to conversations with an open mind. A story I'm currently pitching came from listening to a mother's anguish about her daughter's negative experience in school sports. A couple calls to noted experts in high school athletics to get a few helpful tips, and I have the makings of a great article.
- Learn from your experiences. If you've lived through a particular experience and learned something as a result, chances are you have nuggets of wisdom to share with others. Have you survived a financial fallout, or are you living with someone who is ill and negotiated the health care system or have you built your own solar panel system? Then you have information, lessons, tips and advice to share with others.
- Leaf through magazines. Sometimes when I'm really stuck, I head to the library or take a little trip to the "big city" and sit in a bookstore, buy a latte, and leaf through magazines. One particular store I go to has an amazing selection of magazines. Just flipping through one and reading an article or two will give me inspiration. Hey, I know someone who... I can do that... I have experience in....
Sometimes I latch on to an idea I think is terrific, but struggle to find the right market. I don't give up easily. I may just have to adjust my idea, give it a new twist, and find a new angle and market.
How do you generate ideas? Can you think of other resources to pull from? There are lots out there to cultivate. Now, quit staring at that screen and...