People often accused me of becoming bored easily. I like to think that my restless nature is more of an entrepreneurial spirit, a fire inside, a passion to explore what else is out there. Having delved into our family genealogy in a big way, I know that many before me were entrepreneurial, too. I typically am confident and am willing to risk rejection. (To be a writer, you must be resilient enough to risk rejection!) I generally aim high in my goals, and usually have an attitude that screams “Yes, I can to that,” which has served me well.
While in high school, which was over forty years now, I often spent time in the library perusing magazines, an activity carried on after my children were grown and on their own. So I sometimes find myself smiling as I sit here at my dining room table and am one of the people actually writing for magazines. It was never part of any master plan; a late in life career as a magazine writer simply evolved.
I enjoy writing for the publications that have consistently welcomed my work. I feel like I have a good relationship with these editors, even though we have only met via the cyber world or an occasional phone call. I like to believe that I am an easy writer to work with, delivering manuscripts ready to publish, or revise as requested, well before the deadline date.
But, for me, writing for a variety of very different types of publications, keeps me going. I feel satisfied to have developed the versatility to write professional pieces as an occupational therapist a weekly blog for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners, no-nonsense well-researched articles for The Dollar Stretcher for frugal people like me to save money, and grandmotherly advice for grandmagazine.com. And of course, I love sharing my experiences as a writer to other writers at various points in the careers, writing for freelancewriting.com.
Build an idea bank.
Whenever I am at the library or a bookstore, I systematically perused the magazine section and more thoroughly study magazines that might be places to publish my work. Most of these are related to some of my hobbies such as genealogy, living a simple life, and do it yourself activities. At home, I create notecards for each of these magazines as well as ones I have discovered online. I create color-coded notecards for magazines that I might like to write for someday.
I am often asked by curious friends, exactly where I get ideas for all the different types of articles that I write. My response is often rather flip, “I get my ideas from chance conversations with people like you.” Whether at work, a party, lunch with a friend, or a relaxing stroll through the park, topics to write about simple pop into my head, and I write them down immediately so I don’t forget. I am seldom without paper and pen to jot down these ideas that might ultimately become magazine articles. When I get home, I organize these ideas, matching them with magazines from my notecards. Then when I get a burst of energy to write, I am never at a loss for possible topics and potential places to send my finished articles.
You can have your articles published in an assortment of different magazines and online sites.
One of the first articles I had published by a print magazine was a genealogy piece about an unusual quest to find a long lost relative in Ancestry Magazine. Had I known back then that magazines often paid more when photos or other graphics were submitted, I would have been paid even more. (I quickly went out and purchased an inexpensive point and shoot camera that has since paid for itself!)
More recently, I noticed that Family Chronicle, a genealogy magazine in Canada was actively seeking freelance writers. How cool would it be, I pondered, to be an “international writer!” Since I am a bit of an expert on Jewish genealogy, and an astute researcher, I pitched my idea to write about Canadian Jewish genealogy. The editor responded to my query immediately, and the two thousand word piece that was written in one morning (taking Prednisone for a severe allergic reaction can really make you speedy!) and several photos and images sent, was published early in 2014, and paid in American dollars. And by the way, I use my maiden name as author, just in case, someone might find me via their own genealogy search.
Lifestyle magazines may be a home for your work. I had an article in Back Home Magazine, a few years ago, about finding free firewood. (Local folks often see me scavenging to find fuel for my wood burning stove.) I have written other articles about finding and heating with firewood for several different print publications.
Having worked with children as a therapist, and being am Mom and now a grandmother, I thought it would be fun to write for a children’s magazine. I explored some of the possibilities and looked in the kid’s section of our public library. Fun for Kidz and its sibling magazines, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls were actively looking for freelance writers. Online, each of these print publications announces its themes for each magazine several years in advance. I noticed that Fun for Kidz was scheduled to print an issue, “Friends with Disabilities.” As a pediatric occupational therapist, I knew I could easily write on this subject. My article, “The Visually Impaired Student in School” was published last year.
Visiting Mom and Dad, I noticed an interesting colorful glossy magazine sitting on the kitchen table, Inside Glenview. How exciting it would be to write for a hometown magazine. I looked inside the cover and obtained the name of the editor and contact information. Ultimately, five of my articles, all with a “Glenview spin,” were published, also using my maiden name, for the benefit of former high school friends who might have wondered what Debbie was doing these days! I am certain I could have written more articles for Inside Glenview if they were still being published.
I love seeing new places, and when on vacation in recent years, I have written about my travel destinations and sent manuscript and photos to our local newspaper. All five of those have been published, and I am amazed at how many local friends read those and send me a note and the article in the mail. Perhaps the next destination for my writing might be one of the in-flight magazines such as American Airline’s American Way, or maybe one of the regional magazines, such as Midwest Living. Aim high, Debbie, aim high!
About the author:
Debra L. Karplus is a licensed occupational therapist, accountant, teacher, public speaker, mother and grandmother and freelance writer for several print and online venues. She writes a weekly blog for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners and has been a featured columnist for grandmagazine.com and for Young Money and writes regularly for The Dollar Stretcher. She has been an item writer for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and an essay writer for the ACT. She speaks to high school students who are aspiring writers and has taught magazine writing classes through her local public school adult education program. She is consumed with hobbies including genealogy and do-it-yourself projects at home. She had articles published about all of the above. Learn more about Ms. Karplus at http://debrakarplus.blogspot.com.
by Debra Karplus:
1. Freelance Magazine Writing, It’s My Business (article)
2. How to Find Paid Writing Opportunities in Unexpected Places (article)
3. How to Conduct a Creative Writing Class for Children (article)
4. Sell Your Non-fiction Article by Writing a Winning Query Letter
5. 7 Effective Ways to Market your Articles (article)
6. Generate More Writing Opportunities with an Online Presence (article)
7. How to Build an Idea Bank to Write Interesting Articles (article)
8. How to Make Your Article SEO-Friendly Before Selling It (article)