Writing for holiday issues of magazines can be a little tricky. At least for me. I only think of ideas for articles and stories during the actual holiday. The problem with that is it’s way too late, or way too early, to then send it into the magazine. Also, once the holiday is passed, the feelings of the moment and the writing mojo for that particular piece is gone. The trick to having holiday articles and stories published is to think way ahead of time and think in the present at the same time. Make sense?
One thing to remember is that there are more holidays than just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many publications need material for other holidays as well. Many times these other holidays are much less popular, but material is still needed. I work with one magazine that wants less popular holiday material for holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Flag Day, etc.
So how do you write for the holidays all year round?
Make a calendar of the actual holidays. Include all the holidays, not just Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Write down some ideas you may already have for each particular holiday.
Look up different markets, especially ones you already write for, and see when they begin accepting holiday material. Look for both adult and children’s markets as you may be able to more than double your income using essentially the same article or story.
Mark the date on your calendar of when you need to send your articles and stories to certain publications. For example, some publications want holiday material a year in advance, which isn’t so bad because you can send the articles during the holiday while you are thinking about it.
Other publications want holiday material around six months ahead of time. The problem with this is who is thinking of Christmas in July? Or who is thinking of Fourth of July in December? This is where your calendar will come in handy. Refer to the calendar frequently to make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity.
Write during the holidays when the ideas are fresh, but then don’t pack the story away and forget about it. Find a market and schedule when to send your articles and stories in. This also allows time for you to set your article or story aside and then reread it and edit.
Articles can be facts about holidays, stories centered around a holiday, craft ideas, recipes, and projects for the holiday. Interviews are a great source of information and ideas for holiday articles of all kinds. Many families have stories about Christmas or Thanksgiving. Veterans can be interviewed and have their stories written for Fourth of July and Memorial Day articles.
Look for ideas that are not so general. You want your article/story to be suitable for a larger audience for the holiday. Of course, this also depends on the publication for which you are writing. Write for a broad audience, but one that falls within the parameters of the publication.
You can also think ahead to things that aren’t necessarily holidays. For example, many magazines look for articles that are specific for back-to-school time, family vacations, the Olympics, etc. All of these things can be added to your calendar to help you get the most out of your writing time and publish an article for which you can get paid.
Check the writer’s guidelines for each publication. Sometimes they use different guidelines for holiday material. For example, one magazine may normally not take fiction pieces. However, for holidays, that is exactly what they want.
The word counts may also be different for holiday pieces as well. If your word count is longer than what they accept, study the publication to see if a serial is possible—gaining you two articles published instead of one! Take note of whether the publication is monthly, weekly, bimonthly, etc. If there is more than a month between issues, a serial will probably not be acceptable.
Stick with the positive. Many people get depressed around all sorts of holidays. That only makes sense as many families make memories together during these times.
If a person has lost a loved one or one particular holiday was special to a loved one who is now gone, people don’t need to read depressing stories. It doesn’t matter what holiday it is, people want, and need, to smile. Get their minds off themselves. Maybe give them ideas of things they can do for others. Keep the story or article uplifting.
Just because you aren’t thinking of the holidays all year around doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of them, write an article or story, and get paid. It just takes a little planning on your part. You can even use your calendar from one year to the next adding and subtracting new publications and new holiday ideas.
About the author:
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications. Her first novel Come Eat at My Table came out earlier this year. Her second is on its way. When she’s not writing, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family. Visit her blog at http://www.ruths-real-life.blogspot.com or website at http://ruthoneil.weebly.com.
More articles by Ruth O’Neil:
1. How to Make Guest Blogging Worth Your Time
2. Freelance Writing for the Christian Market
3. What Editors Really Want: 10 Tips for Freelance Writers and Book Authors
4. Write the Story of Your Life
5. Teaching Others to Write
6. Getting the Most Mileage Out of Your Articles