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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Subjects for Every Season
by Shaunna Privratsky

 

No matter what the calendar says, you can always find pertinent and timely topics to fit every season. The key is timing. Keep in mind that most markets work at least three months in advance and as many as eight. So while you are querying in January, you have to be pitching topics for late summer parties or back to school bashes. Likewise, while you’re lolling by a pool under a blazing July sun you should be scribbling about winter family fun and the holidays.
 
How do you keep the memories fresh when you are always working so far ahead of the actual season? By keeping an idea journal or notebook. Jot down exactly what you said when the tree tipped over and scattered broken ornaments all over your freshly decorated living room. Or how the succulent steaks and fresh corn-on-the-cob tasted at a summer barbecue. 
 
Remember how cold and wet you were at the season opener, but how all was forgotten when you caught that twenty-pound fish? Record all the gorgeous colors you see on an autumn drive. Then when you are ready to pitch your idea or submit, you will have specific details to add the perfect finishing touch.
 
Another excellent way to capture the spirit of the season is to actually write the piece, then polish and submit it for the following year. You will be surprised how quickly it rolls around again. It will be like finding an unexpected gift to yourself when you rediscover your seasonal piece, already written.     
 
Family get-togethers can be an excellent source for new topics. Take those oh-so-hectic holiday memories and turn them into lucrative pieces. During the holidays, there are more things to do, crammed into fewer daylight hours. Writing is sometimes the furthest thing from our minds. Yet now is the ideal time to cash in on the holiday craze. Editors at all your favorite markets are busier, too. If you send in a pertinent, timely submission they are likely to snap it up.
 
Timely means it may already be too late for the national magazines. However, you can capitalize by sending to newsletters, smaller markets, or familiar places with quick turnaround times.
 
Fewer writers submit during the hectic holiday season, so you will have a better than average chance of an acceptance. Also, you can use all those “priceless” moments. Like when Uncle Joe broke up the party with his resounding belch or the dog lifted his leg against the freshly decorated tree.
 
Turn your disastrous, humorous or heartwarming moments into an article, story, or essay for some quick holiday cash. “Ten ways to Keep Kitty off the Tree” comes to mind, since we have two frisky felines.
 
Another reason to keep writing as much as possible is the coming new year. Savvy submitters are already querying and jockeying for assignments in 2005. You don’t want to get left out in the cold.
 
You might have more time once the hoopla dies down. Children usually have a holiday break through New Year’s Day and if you have extra time as well, don‘t let it go to “waist.”  Instead of second helpings, help yourself to some writing time and keep submitting. Or you can finish that big project you started last summer.
 
Remember that it may take a bit longer than usual for editors to get back to you during the eventful holidays. Some may even take their own holiday break. Use the time to craft more stories. The more you write, the more ideas you will uncover. 
 
An article about holiday decorating with your kids could lead to a heartwarming short story or an essay about the importance of traditions. Write about your madcap race through the mall, searching for the final few gifts on your list.
 
Seize the moments of insanity the way only writers can—transform them into publishable prose.  Just keep reminding yourself, that the holidays, like every season, only happen once a year!
   
 

Shaunna Privratsky is thrilled to announce her new book, "Pump Up Your Prose" debuting November 15. Details and FREE sign up to The Writer Within Newsletter at http://shaunna67.tripod.com Check out The Discount Diva while you're there.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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