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Five Ways to Seize the Summer and Earn Hot Cash
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Summer season is upon us. Not only does it usher in hot weather, but it also offers endless opportunities for writers to earn extra dough through events of the season. All that’s required is a little creativity and some cool lemonade. And the great thing is that these ideas work regardless as to where you live, or what genre you write.

Here’s how to explore various topics to potentially pen poems, essays, how-tos, features or fictional pieces and to earn hot cash in the process.

  1. Make a list and check it twice.

Here’s what it might look like:

Themes:

  • Graduations and Proms—A look at college career choices, a nostalgic look at your first love, or an essay on defining success for today’s graduate.
  • Summer reunions—this could include genealogy references, family recipes, or colorful characters.
  • Summer vacations—Great for travel writing pieces, rating of hotels and restaurants.
  • Summer gardening—Tips on successful planting, pictures of your back yard and stories of trial and error, or how to cultivate a green thumb.
  • Summer barbeques and recipes—How to use beer for tender barbeque, or the art of romantic picnics, or how to make the best baked beans.
  • Summer weddings—Wedding traditions and how not to become a “bride-zilla.” Unusual stories on how couples met.
  • At-home activities for kids—Arts and craft activities, how to host a book club for teens, summer safety tips. Time management for busy moms.
  • Summer fashions—Popular trends, hot sales, styles that flatter different figures, foot care for sandal wear.

Holidays

  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day

National Awareness Days

  • National Safety Month—June—Why and how it came into existence.
  • Parents’ Day—July—Gift-giving tips
  • Friendship Day—August
  • Grandparents’ Day—September
  • Special Olympics
  1. Choose the most interesting and relevant topics based upon your interests and experiences, and narrow the list down.  For example, for me, since I’m an incurable romantic, summer weddings would definitely be at the top of my list. Summer barbeques would also be a definite possibility since I enjoy food and backyard barbeques. The weddings might inspire my romantic poetry or a personal essay, or even a how-to on planning an economical but beautiful wedding for penny-pinchers!

  2. Address the 5 Ws of journalism: who, what, when, where, why. Don’t forget to provide colorful anecdotes and quotes to provide richness.

  3. Start sketching and fleshing out viable ideas. Ideally the more passionate you are about the subject, the easier and more enjoyable it is to write, and the less research required.

  4. Identify potential markets. This is almost a no-brainer. Wedding pieces would go to places like Today’s Bride or Bride’s Noir. Recipes would find a home at Taste of Home or Woman’s Day. You’ll also find a great database of magazine guidelines at Writing for DOLLARS! Once this is done, check the publication’s archives and their editorial calendars to identify the best time to approach the publication with a query or completed piece.

Follow these five tips and you’ll find creative projects and pay to last the whole year.

© Copyright 2010, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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