No, there isn’t a mistake in the title of this post – I really do mean Christmas 2011.
Magazines and newspapers use lots of Christmas themed features and stories but it’s very hard to sit down in the middle of summer and write a tale featuring Father Christmas and snowmen. And how do you motivate yourself to do that article on Christmas Traditions when you’re buying suncream and bikinis? Don’t think you can put these pieces off until the nights start drawing in – by then Christmas issues will have been finalised and will be almost ready to hit the shelves.
If you want to be published during Christmas 2011 you need to start preparing now.
- Cut out and file festive features from magazines and newspapers. The same Christmas topics come round year after year – you need to give them a fresh angle, a different viewpoint or add some fresh research of your own. Use the cuttings as an ideas springboard to go off on your own tangent – don’t copy them!
- Study the short stories in magazines. Make a note of which publications go for the cute and cosy stories and which like something a little bit more realistic. Look at the types of characters in the stories and the settings.
- Start a new notebook and label it Christmas ideas. Put one idea on the top of each page and work forwards through the book for fiction ideas and start at the back for articles. In the lead up to Christmas flesh out each of these ideas as much as you can with bullet points about what you might include in the article or how the story plot might develop.
- In those lazy days between Christmas and New Year, push the Quality Streets to one side, turn off the television and write a couple of those stories or articles. It will be much easier to do it now whilst the tree is still up, the weather is cold and the radio is playing Slade.
- Get out your new calendar, diary or phone and make a note to revisit these finished pieces in the summer. Proof read them and then get them submitted in good time.
If you’re really stuck for ideas here a few links to get you going:
#1 by Joanne Fox on December 15, 2010 - 12:05 pm
Great tips, thanks Sally. It is much easier to write something seasonal at the appropriate time of year, and even if you know you won’t submit it for some months that means you’ve got plenty of time for polishing it up.
#2 by Sally Jenkins on December 15, 2010 - 1:15 pm
You’re right, Joanne – and it’s often easier to see the faults in a piece of work after it’s had time to ‘rest’. Merry Christmas!