Finding Inspiration - Part 3

Wednesday, May 07, 2008
by LuAnn Schindler

Feeling stuck in a rut? Need to generate new ideas? Here are four more ideas for generating new articles or stories.

Checked your snail mail lately? Or even your junk email folder? I usually toss the junk mail I receive, but a pink flier advertising a new workout gym for ladies only caught my eye once. A short company profile for a local newspaper netted $50.

I like to clip articles and collect brochures that catch my attention and place them in a 3-ring binder. I even sort them into categories. About every six months I go through the file and see if any spark ignites and guides me toward a new article. Sometimes, I save the "weird" or "bizarre" news stories and later use them to practice my short story skills. An article of this type led to an idea for a poem and I earned $75 (12 lines and about 30 minutes of writing)!

As a former teacher, I truly enjoy the classroom experience and learning. Consider classes or hobbies that interest you. Turn those experiences into money-making articles. Even seminars you've attended for a 9-5 job can be developed into an article. I took information I learned about financial aid and divorced parents at a meeting for guidance counselors and turned it into a quick sale.

I'm also magazine junkie. Flipping through past issues gets my mind racing! When I first started freelancing, I perused the pages of back issues of a regional magazine I wanted to break into. Studying market trends and story ideas was a good lesson in editorial design. Take a look through periodicals where you want to see your writing published. Familiarize yourself with story length, topics, and audience appeal. I knew I had a good story about a comic book collection, and after scanning the magazine, I submitted an article and photos. It was my first major sale.

Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. You just need to keep your mind open to the possibilities and a notebook and pen close at hand.


Unknown said...

These are some fabulous tips-- one of the ways I try to get inspired is by looking at photos. For some reason looking down memory lane, provokes all sorts of thoughts and ideas.
- Johanna

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