article writing

Topics to Write About: I Found You 23 Salable Article Ideas in Minutes

Find Topics to Write About in Minutes. Makealivingwriting.com

Are you one of those writers who struggles to find topics to write about? I hear that a lot: “I just don’t have any ideas!”

So I decided to take a few minutes and find some article ideas for you. (You’re welcome.)

Seriously, I did not spend hours gathering the ideas for this post. I collected press releases for a week that come in my inbox due to my long history as a business reporter, and then took perhaps 5 minutes apiece to think on them.

Then I used them as jumping-off points for story ideas. That’s it.

This post breaks down my process of developing a little tidbit of news into a pitchable idea, honed from 12 years as a staff writer at two business publications.

But you could do the same with overheard gossip, with scanning through publications and reslanting articles, with info you get in interviews…you name it.

Why collect story ideas? If you hope to be a working freelance writer, seeing your byline in publications, you need a big stack of story ideas.

If you fantasize that you can earn well as a writer, and editors will hand you ready-made ideas…sorry, that era ended with the rise of the internet and the decline of print.

Today’s reality: When you know how to develop salable story ideas, you get more assignments, get in the door at bigger publications… and you earn more money.

Think of those story ideas as keys to the publication kingdom. The more keys you have, the more doors you can open.

Ready to turn on the idea-generating part of your brain and learn how to create an article-idea gold mine? Then let’s go!

Tagged with: ,

Writing Skills: Steal My Efficiency Hacks to Hit Your Target Word Count

Steal These Writing Skills to Hit Your Word Count. Makealivingwriting.com

Are you tired of trying to draft a 1,000-word article, only to find your first draft clocks in at 3,000 words? Then it’s time to gain some new writing skills and learn how to write to length.

A reader recently asked me if I had a resource on how to hit your word count, and I realized I didn’t.

Which is silly, because I had to write to assigned length on 3-4 print stories a week for 12 years, as a staff writer. Not to mention the hundreds of short blog posts I’ve written for clients since I got back into freelancing in 2005.

And then there was that one hard-ass editor at Entrepreneur who would refuse to read my draft if it was more than 10% over assigned length. Period. THAT schooled me, for sure!

Got some writing tips to share with you on how to avoid time-wasting and overwriting in your writing process.

Ready for a simple system to avoid overwriting? Let’s go! Here are 10 key steps to cut the blather and make sure your first draft is close to target length.

Tagged with: , , ,

Celebrity Interview Secrets: 7 Strategies for Writers to Score a Meeting

How to Score a Celebrity Interview. Makealivingwriting.com

It can be one of the most enjoyable assignments in journalism…the celebrity interview.

You interview movie stars, music artists, or politicians. Or maybe your jams is magicians, authors, dancers, or mega-church pastors.

Pick your favorite flavor, and book a celebrity interview.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

You meet up with the rich and famous. Ask loads of curious questions. Write a pitch or story. And editors and fans are foaming at the mouth over your inside scoop.

If only it were that easy. Ever wonder how to score a celebrity interview?

It’s often difficult to get famous people to grant you an interview. I spent 12 years pursuing CEOs of major corporations for interviews as a staff reporter. And I was a movie-industry secretary for several years. So I speak from experience on both sides of the fence here.

Here’s what I learned: To get household names to slot you an interview time, you have to be wily, creative, and unstoppable.

Ready? Use these 7 strategies to score a celebrity interview.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

How to Write an Article That Pays: The Freelancer’s Ultimate Guide

How to Write an Article That Pays. Makealivingwriting.com

Tired of article writing jobs that pay a big $50? There’s a ton of ‘online content’ work out there that doesn’t pay much. Maybe it’s time to move up and learn how to write an article.

And when I say that, I don’t mean a $75 article — I mean the type of article that pays real money. $1-a-word and up land.

If that interests you, you’re in the right place.

After offering article-writing tips for over a decade, I decided it would be useful to organize all the information into one, big ultimate guide.

Many freelance writers do article-prep steps out of order or skip some steps entirely, with poor results. Following this step-by-step guide will make it easier for you to move up, write in-depth, reported articles faster, and sell to better-paying article markets.

Ready to learn how to write an article that pays? Then let’s go!

Tagged with: , ,

Magazine Article Tips: Your Fail-Proof Checklist for a Killer Query

Use This Magazine Article Checklist for Query Letters. Makealivingwriting.com

Say you’ve got an idea for a magazine article. You write up a query and send it in.

What happens next? Crickets.

I’ve heard this tale from hundreds of writers. They all want to know why.

Usually, the answer is that you don’t know how to analyze the magazine you’re pitching, and use what you learn to create the perfect query — the irresistible one that editor can’t resist.

Everything you need to know to write a hot query can be found by studying the articles in that magazine.

What do you need to look for? Here’s my checklist:

Tagged with: ,

Get Paid to Write About Writing: 15 Markets That Pay Up to $1,500+

Get Paid to Write About Writing. Makealivingwriting.com

Want to get paid to write about writing? If you know a little something about the business and craft of freelancing, you can cash in on your ideas and experience.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

It’s no secret that finding a niche is a smart strategy to grow your freelance writing business. Everyone should have a niche, or two or three. And writing can be one of them.

In fact, there’s a number of online and print markets that serve freelance writers and some pay up to $1,500 per assignment. Pitch these places great story ideas, and you can get paid to write about writing. For example:

You’ve got some insight on how to write great headlines.
You’ve learned a few interview tricks over the years to get sources to spill the beans.
You’ve some great connections with thought leaders in writing and publishing you can interview and write a feature about.
Or maybe you’d like to write about the art of the pitch and interview pros who know how to do it.

Want to get paid to write about writing? Check out these markets that cover the business and craft of freelance writing, and start pitching.

Tagged with: , , , ,