Writing non-fiction is by far the easiest way to get published and start making money from your writing. The market is bigger and less crowded, and the market for non-fiction work is wider and more varied.
The problem most new writers seem to face is finding an idea for an article, and we completely understand! It can be a little bit intimidating to start with, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can think of when you get going!
Magazines and newspapers are always looking for articles that are topical and relevant, and you might notice some seasonal trends if you are a regular reader of a certain publication. However, it’s important to remember that magazines are put together several months in advance, so you always need to be thinking ahead. It’s no good submitting an article about Christmas in December, as that issue will have been filled and finalised at the end of September.
If you use a calendar or a diary every day then you’ll probably already have these important events marked, but if you’re seriously considering turning your writing into a career, why not also leave yourself a reminder about six months in advance? That way, you can start researching, writing and submitting in enough time for the correct issue. Try submitting your articles around 3-4 months in advance of a special event to give yourself a fighting chance.
For example, you could leave yourself a reminder in your diary for mid-December to start working on your summer holiday articles. That way, by the time March and April arrive, you have a few articles ready for submission. It will seem strange writing about sandy beaches in the middle of winter, but you’ll thank yourself later!
And don’t forget, it doesn’t always have to be the big events like Easter, Christmas or New Year. There are plenty of smaller occasions that are great for a short articles or fillers, and if you’re a new writer then this can be a good way to get your first few pieces accepted. Did you know that the 5th of September is Read a Book Day? Or that the 6th of October is World Smile Day? Neither did I! But a quick Google search led me to the Awareness Days website which is an online calendar of hundreds of smaller events like this. You’ll find that almost every day is national “something” day - so you should never be short of ideas.
The beauty of this is that these days happen every year. If an article isn’t accepted one year, put it to one side to be used again the year after. You should always keep copies of your articles, even if they aren’t accepted the first time around. There’s never an excuse to let a good piece of work go to waste!