The other week I ran an article writing workshop for my writers’ group. I’m not one for speaking in front of a group and so was a bit concerned about how it might go. However, once I got going and the participants started asking questions, I began to relax and enjoy it.
We started off by analysing the pile of magazines that we’d brought with us:
- Comparing staff names on the masthead to the by-lines on the articles to see which were written ‘in-house’
- Looking at the adverts to get a feel for the readership of the magazine
This raised the problem of the expense of buying magazines to search for markets in this way – especially since it’s necessary to read around 3 consecutive (and up-to-date) issues in order to spot the regular columnists and get a proper feel for the content. Unless you live near a large, well-stocked library there’s no easy answer to this – other than begging, borrowing or stealing from your friends. What do other people do?
Once each of us had established a potential market, we brainstormed a list of ideas that we felt might make an article for that magazine – trying to stay away from the obvious well-worn themes. This was the part of the evening that I found really interesting. There was a wonderfully wide range of feature ideas – displaying sides of my fellow writers that I never knew existed. Without giving too much away (because I hope they’re all going to write-up their articles) these included:
- Activities for winter evenings
- Dog-related issues
- The significance of one lady’s mother’s choice of wedding date
- Railway memories
- Multiple Sclerosis
We went on to draft a short email pitch to the editor before the chairman rang his bell and our time was up.
There are a couple of useful blogs that include generous advice on article writing and are well worth a visit:
Remember there are many, many more markets for articles than fiction or poetry – so why not give it a go?
P.S. Many thanks and welcome to those of you that requested email updates to this blog over the past fortnight – a donation is now winging its way to the RNIB.