By Angela Booth, Digital eBiz
Globalization affects writers too. You’ll find yourself competing with writers from all over the world for space in newspapers, magazines, and on the bookshelves. You can, and must, fight back.
You need to get creative. You need to write more, and sell more.
Here are five EASY ways to do that:
1. Multiply the ways you use your material
When you get an assignment and begin your research, think “multiple use” from the outset.
For example, let’s say you have an assignment from a fitness magazine to write about the glycemic index. Sit down and make a list of possible other uses for your research. If you’re writing for a magazine targeted to women, you could rework the material for men’s markets, parenting magazines, even animal magazines. You could write small filler pieces of less than 100 words for “front of book” sections in other magazines.
Don’t stop there. Do a Web search for other markets. Think of: magazines and newspapers in countries other than your own, Web sites, and large companies which may be interested in using your information to inform their consumers.
There are always a million ways you can get more mileage out of your material. Start thinking creatively now.
2. Get multiple assignments from a single source
When an editor has given you an assignment, send that editor more proposals. It’s always easier to sell something to a current customer than it is to a new customer. Send your current customers (editors) one proposal a month. The more often they see your name crossing their desk, the more they’re inclined to give you an assignment they’ve developed in-house.
3. Sit down and write–research later
Write first, research later. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps you to write more and sell more. It’s easy to get caught in the quagmire of research. You can collect so much material that you lose all enthusiasm for the project-the more you collect, the more overwhelmed you feel.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a novel. Your hero is a cop. You don’t need to know that much about his day-to-day working life to write the first draft. You don’t need to know specifics of weapons used, or any of a hundred other things. Focus on the characters and the story. Do some research as you go, but aim to do the bulk of your research after you’ve written the first draft.
Here’s how: when you get to a spot in the ms where you need specific info, put: “XX Research”. You can add a comment about the kind of research: primary, or secondary, and where you’ll get the material. Or just put the old printers’ mark: “TK” meaning “to come”.
If you’re writing a magazine article about a topic you know nothing about, create an outline before you begin to research. Your outline can be as simple as: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Then write your article as you do the research. Hint: with this technique, you’ll write more than you need, so be ruthless when you edit.
4. Write about what you’re living
What’s happening in your life right now? Whatever it is, use it. You must use it right now, because chances are that you won’t be able to use it later. Time moves on, you become a different person.
Here’s how this works. Let’s say you’re a new parent-bingo! You have a mass of markets you can write for. You also have a lot of first-person, real-life information which is coming into your life without you having to do anything much at all.
Maybe you’ve started back at school as a mature age student, or you’re taking a course in something new to you. Before you stroll into the door for the first seminar, start lining up markets you could approach with stories about your new field.
You must make use of this “found” information now, when you’re in the midst of living it. If you don’t, you’re missing a great opportunity. You will also find that as this period of your life passes, you won’t be able to write about it. A couple of years ago I was asked to contribute to a parenting manual. OK, I thought, not a problem, I’ve had children. Sadly, it turned out to be a major problem. My children are adults. I found it horribly difficult to put myself into the mindset of the parents of young children.
Write about what you’re living NOW.
5. Write about what you love
What intrigues you? What do you do in your spare time? Do you garden, knit, breed Great Danes? Whatever you do as a hobby can be a money-maker for you. There’s nothing so esoteric that
there’s not a market out there.
The benefit of writing about your passions is that you can write easily about it. You have the basic knowledge. You know what concerns other people have. Write about them.
Remember that you don’t need to be an expert. Once you’re an expert, it’s hard to write for beginners. Write about what you love, and watch your sales multiply.
Get started right now, writing more, and selling more. It’s truly easy. You’ll find that when you use these five tools each day, they will become part of you, and your writing career will take off.
About the Author:
To read more articles by Angela Booth, visit the Digital-e Web site–Information for writers and creatives. Ebooks, free ezines, Creatives Club. Love to write? Turn your talent into a business at Digital eBiz!