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By Patricia L. Fry

After 28 years of writing for magazines, I’m often asked, “Where do you get your article ideas?”

I say, look everywhere for article topics. Here’s a guide to get you started:

Write About What You Know

What skills do you have? What are your interests and hobbies? What insights have you gained over the years?

Write About Things You Want to Know

A good way to learn about something is to write about it.

Share Your Experiences

I’ve sold articles based on my experiences with caring for an aging horse, rescuing feral kittens, grandparenting and working at home, for example.

Relate the Experiences of Others

Tap into the life adventures of family, friends and acquaintances.

Look Everywhere For Article Ideas

While most people complain about standing in line, I consider this an opportunity. My long-distance grandparenting book resulted from a conversation I overheard while standing in line at the grocery store. I once wrote an article featuring a handywoman I met in the post office.

Stop, Look and Listen

Pay attention to the world around you. Notice what people are doing and listen to what they’re saying. Other people are excellent resources for a writer whether you write nonfiction or fiction.

Keep Up With the News

Your newspaper is brimming with article ideas. Read it everyday from cover to cover.

Use the Internet

Open up to new topics you find while Web surfing.

Write From the Heart

What are you passionate about? How would you like to make a difference? I’ve written articles on teaching kids responsibility through horse ownership, youth mentoring, how America is helping our children and, of course, articles on being a more effective grandparent.

As you can see, coming up with article ideas is as easy as paying attention to the world around you.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.



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