Five Ways to Survive a Dry Spell

Sunday, May 24, 2009
by LuAnn Schindler

Having a difficult time generating new ideas? It happens to all writers at some point. But when the creative juices simply don't flow, and the postman keeps delivering the bills, a writer must be proactive to survive a dry spell. Here are five tips to help you find sources of income when the well runs dry.

  1. Reuse old queries. In a perfect writing world, every query a writer mails would be snatched up by a publication. But in the real writing world, some queries aren't the right fit for a publication at that particular moment in time. Every three months, I go through my queries that didn't make the cut, add new research , tweak my approach, and target a new market. In a notebook, I track each query I submit and add information about potential experts to interview, new research, and any notes I will need later. This visual reminder shows me that I am working toward a writing goal and keeps me motivated.
  2. Turn a sidebar into a story. Since a sidebar is a short burst of information, it's possible to turn the sidebar or the main idea into a full feature article. Look at sidebars you've submitted and consider a new angle.
  3. Attend conferences or workshops. Spending time with fellow writers is an excellent way to network and discover new ideas. Don't be afraid to mingle and ask questions.
  4. Keep track of editor changes. Lets say you queried a publication in the past and were rejected. Now, a new editor heads the publication. Resubmit a query. Just because one idea didn't spark one editor's interest doesn't mean the new editor will reject it.
  5. Look at editorial calendars. If there's a market you're interested in, check its editorial calendar and see what issues are coming up. Sometimes, an idea for a new article pops to mind when viewing themes for upcoming issues. Then, write a query and hit send.

Generating new and fresh ideas - even from old stories - will help generate cash during a dry spell. And, it will spark your imagination.


LuAnn said...

Sometimes I wish I had a (short) dry spell. I've been so busy lately, I haven't had a break!

Margo Dill said...

Thanks for this great list. It will be something I will refer to if a dry spell is coming up (which I hope it's not :)

Margo :)

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