Check out a few market listings. Open up the latest “Writer’s Market,” or look through some of the on-line databases. See what various publications are looking for. Now outline, brainstorm, or write an article or story that would suit one of those publications. Think about how you’d research the article. Figure out plot twists and characters.
- #6a. First stick to your area of expertise. If you’re a short story writer, do this with a short story market. If you’re a poetry writer, do it with a poetry market.
- #6b. Deliberately go outside your area of expertise. If you’re a short story writer, brainstorm an article for a pet magazine.
- #6c. Go for a different genre, subject matter, or form than you’re used to. If you write articles on car repair, write an article for a horse magazine. If you write free verse poetry, write a poem for a magazine that only takes sonnets.
- #6d. Look for magazines and anthologies that have themes, and try to write something that would suit one of those themes.
- #6e. Make sure you stick to the editor’s requirements. Stay within word count, avoid taboo subjects, and try to suit the feel of that publication (if you can find a sample issue in the library or on-line).
- #6f. If one of these pieces of writing from #6e turns out particularly well, then go for it–send away for that publication’s writers’ guidelines (or find them on the web if they’re posted). Send the article or story in. The worst they can do is say no, and they might give you some valuable feedback on your writing in the process.