Personal writing focuses on your experiences, and interests
As you know, this week, our theme is personal writing. It’s writing your life stories; whatever interests you.
Often you’ll write about learning something new. One of my friends started evening art classes a few months ago. She’s found a whole new arena for her writing. When we last spoke, she was creating websites for a local artists’ cooperative.
Personal writing tends to snowball in precisely this way — before you know it, you’ve discovered a new and profitable writing niche.
New writers find that this gives them such a broad range of topics that they’re unsure what to write next.
Paul, one of my students, couldn’t make up his mind about whether he should write about his upcoming European vacation, or his hobby of entering cooking competitions.
He told me that he could approach some travel magazines with queries. Perhaps he could get some assignments before he left — these assignments might pay for the trip. Travel companies might like a blog on his adventures… He could start a travel writing career. On the other hand, cooking was a hot topic. Perhaps he could collect his best recipes and create a Kindle ebook. Or start a cooking blog, for cooks who like to enter competitions.
Many writers suffer from a sense of being overwhelmed. They start a project, then immediately get an idea for another one. They stop focusing on their current project. Doubts creep in. They start working on their new idea. Before they know it, they have a dozen projects they’ve abandoned.
Here’s something which may help with this.
I wrote “Sell Your Writing: Ideas Mean Sales and Money” yesterday. In this article, I talk about “idea catching”:
When I got started writing regularly for magazines, I made it a habit to send out five queries a day.
Yes, FIVE a day, every day. This was pre-Web, and pre-email. You sent your queries via postal mail. Once you wrote regularly for a publication, you got your editor’s fax number, so you faxed your queries.
This taught me a valuable lesson: consistently coming up with ideas means sales and money. I developed my ‘idea catching’ routine, which I maintain to this day.
Paul found that this strategy stopped him feeling overwhelmed. He knows that once he’s written down his five ideas for the day, he can focus on his current project, and can give it his complete attention.
Writing tends to lead to more writing. Knowing that you have a process for dealing with ideas reduces stress.
We spoke about personal essays this week.
Personal essays are fun to write, and easy to sell. Some markets pay $2 a word for your experiences.
In our Memories Workbook and Videos, you’ll discover many forms of personal writing, and how to form your experiences for many different markets:
Ghostwriting: You Can Write About Others’ Experiences for Them
You’re a writer, and once you become experienced in writing about your own life stories, consider ghostwriting.
Writing as a “ghost” isn’t for everyone. It means that your name won’t appear on your projects. Someone else claims the credit. I’m not bothered by this at all.
If you feel the same way, consider writing others’ life stories, or family histories.
This is another form of personal writing — even though these aren’t your experiences — which tends to snowball. You’ll find that your clients pass your name around, so you won’t need to go hunting for writing gigs.
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