story ideas

Slam Dunk Assignments: The Easy Method That Sells More Story Ideas

Sell More Story Ideas – It’s a Slam Dunk. Makealivingwriting.com

Note: In this post from the past, you’ll learn about one easy method to come up with story ideas that never gets old. Enjoy! —Carol.

Are you short on story ideas to pitch magazine editors?

A lot of writers make it a lot harder than it needs to be to come up with story ideas to land an assignment.

You try and be ultra clever. You spend countless hours doing research looking for a nugget of information…and then another. Or you second guess every single one of the story ideas you come up with. Sound familiar?

Some story ideas deserve that kind of attention. But if you’re hustling to land more work and make more money, you need to pitch story ideas that sell.

And there’s one angle that few writers take the time to craft, but that often results in an easy sale.

What is this slam-dunk idea? Let me show you how it’s done:

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The Lucrative Business of Dumpster Diving for Discarded Freelance Ideas

Cash in on Discarded Freelance Ideas. Makealivingwriting.com

Have you ever come up with a bunch of good freelance ideas and then tossed them in the virtual trash?

You brainstorm some freelance ideas for a query or letter of introduction to land an assignment. You even write up a partial pitch.

And then for whatever reason (fear, procrastination, shiny-object syndrome, or too many open windows on your computer), those freelance ideas never make it to the Great Beyond.

Been there, done that?

If your hard drive looks like the inside of a hoarder’s house stacked with unfinished freelance ideas in every corner, it’s time to put on some rubber gloves, and start digging through the trash.

Why? Some of your discarded freelance ideas are worth money, an assignment, your next best client.

Having a little hoarder freakout about now? Here’s what you need to do:

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10 Ways to Earn More From One Great Article Idea

How to earn more from one great article idea. Makealivingwriting.com.

Are you a writer in search of an article idea? These days, the big-earning article writers have loads of ideas for editors.

But if you’re someone who really finds idea generation tough, there’s another way to earn well. You can do it by getting more mileage out of your short stack of ideas.

Get out of the habit of coming up with one article idea, landing an assignment, and then moving on.

Instead, think in terms of spinning that one little idea straw into a big pile of gold.

How? Here are ten different ways:

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How One Query Letter Got $6,000 in Assignments

How one query letter got $6,000 in assignments. Makealivingwriting.com

It’s been nearly 6 years since this post was originally published — and it’s been one of my most popular ever. The need to write strong query letters has only grown in the years since, so I thought it would be a good time to put it out there again. Enjoy!–Carol

I often have freelance writers tell me they don’t think writing a query letter is worth the effort. They get a lot of rejections, and feel it’s basically a crapshoot…and so much easier to sign on to a content-mill dashboard for a guaranteed few bucks’ worth of work.

It’s true that querying isn’t a sure thing. But if you take the time to learn this skill, it can really help you move up and earn big.

I regularly get lucrative assignments off of query letters and guest post pitches, and I continue to believe querying is a vital skill for successful freelancers.

With so many writers turned off of queries, taking the time to learn how to write a compelling query letter is well worth the effort, as it makes you stand out in today’s marketplace. Querying can open doors when you don’t know anyone at a publication or company, and make a connection that could turn into an ongoing relationship.

For instance: I recently sent one query letter that got me $6,000 of assignments. And I’m reproducing it in full below.

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Freelance Writer Fairy Tales: Do You Believe These 3 Myths?

Freelance writer fairy tales: Do you believe in these 3 myths? Makealivingwriting.com

When you’re a freelance writer, it’s easy to go on for years clinging to magical thinking about how your career will work.

It’s like believing in fairy tales. Usually, when you grow up, you realize there is no enchanted frog or beast that turns into a prince.

But with a lot of writers, these myths persist for years and years, leading to lots of wasted time and low earnings.

What are the big fairy tales freelance writers tell themselves? Here are my top three:

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Need Story Ideas? 20 Free Online Tools to Fire Up Your Brain

Find Story Ideas With These 20 Online Tools. Makealivingwriting.com

If you want to write for magazines, story ideas are your bread and butter.

The days when big editorial staffs thought up most of the ideas and simply assigned them out to freelance writers are over. Instead, these days overworked editors are looking to their writers to tell them what’s fresh and interesting out there.

You want to be the writer with a million story ideas, to earn well.

Despite this, I often hear from writers that they’re stymied because they have no ideas.

Let’s fix this! Once you know how to troll for ideas, it becomes a fun hobby. Get out your favorite tracking software, whether it’s an app like Pocket, an Excel spreadsheet, or (like me) just a plain ol’ Word doc, and start developing your idea-finding skills.

These days, you don’t even have to leave the house to come up with a lot of great ideas, because so many online tools can help stimulate your brain.

Ready to fire up your computer and find some great ideas? Here’s my list of creative idea-finding tools (in alphabetical order):

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