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Getting Paid for Everyday Moments
by Kathryn Lay

Every day something happens in our lives. Good things, bad things, things that help us learn and grow and change. Things that we can teach others, make them laugh or cry, or share information.

Not everything is grist for writing ideas, but many of our events can become articles, essays, stories, fillers, etc.

Recently, I decided to write down things that happened throughout the day. By the end of the day, I came up with 4 new ideas for articles and essays. Two have been written and sold. Two are waiting to be written.

Throughout the day jot down what you are doing, seeing, hearing, experiencing. At the end of the day, make a list of what you did into a notebook or journal, putting one thing per page.

The next day, take a little time and look over the list, checking off the things that might be written. Once a week, go through those that are checked and make notes about the events and what there is about them that could be written and how they can help, challenge, inform, etc. readers.

To help you with your list think about that day.


Did you do something that day that was amazing, special, fun? Did you go somewhere that you could write about as a travel piece or essay?

Make a basic list of everything you did that day, even if it was mundane. Later, you may remember something about that thing you did that brings it out of the mundane. Or, it might be already something you can write easily about.

What happened at work, at home, at play, with kids or friends?

Years ago a friend told me about an ostrich farm a half-hour away. My daughter was young and home-schooled. I took her for a tour and came away with an idea for a novel, a short story, a profile about the owner, and an article. I wrote them all and sold every one except the novel…which I’m still planning on rewriting.


Did you hear something interesting on the news or from a conversation of someone around you? I’ve had many story ideas come from listening.

One day at a conference I overheard someone say, “Every time I saw her she looked younger.” That statement turned into ideas for a children’s book and an essay.


We all learn things through the day. From someone else, from classes or books or our co-workers, from mistakes we make, from our past that is remembered because of an event. As you learn, you can share with others in articles or essays – how to’s, list articles, pieces that you might include an expert’s help, etc.

As a parent, a wife, a friend, a writer, an employee and more, I’ve learned many things that I’ve turned into writing.

Whether it’s how to get through chemo treatments, how to forgive a friend, or how to deal with legal issues for my elderly father; there’s almost always something that a magazine reader might be interested in.


Did you laugh, cry, get your feelings hurt, or feel angry? What caused this emotion and how did you handle it? Could it be an essay or included in a fictional piece?


Billboards, newspapers, books often spark ideas. Don’t let them flit away when you can use them for writing that pays.

A silly billboard saying on a sign became an idea for a chapter title that later became my first published children’s novel.

Our days are packed with our own experiences. Sometimes they can be turned into writing projects. Before you know it, events of the day can turn into a writer’s pay.

© Copyright 2009, Kathryn Lay

Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through rlay15@aol.com

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