Freelance Blog + [writing tips]

5 Places to Find Ideas for Articles

One of the challenges (and pleasures) of being a freelancer is the constant need to pitch new ideas. Here are some of the strategies I use to find ideas:

  1. Networking events: I met so many interesting people at the last networking event I attended that the event paid for itself at least ten times over. Two of the women I talked to turned into ideas for profiles and listening to a panel of female entrepreneurs sparked an idea for a feature on a certain aspect of entrepreneurship. Ask questions and listen more than you talk to find interesting stories.
  2. Holidays: Go beyond the obvious. Everyone does holiday gift round-ups in December, but perhaps you can explore your community's Swedish heritage for St. Lucia Day. Or find unusual ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. Just be sure to pitch your idea far enough in advance.
  3. New book releases: Read up on book deals at Publishers Weekly. Or browse the upcoming releases on Amazon.com. You can also do a keyword search and sort according to publication date. If the author is local, then maybe you can write a profile. Or perhaps s/he'd make a good source for an article on a related topic.
  4. Alumni newsletters: Skim through your class notes or alumni magazine to find fresh stories about alums (most of which haven't appeared in the major media yet). Maybe someone is launching a business or doing ground-breaking research in his/her field. There's bound to be another publication that will be interested.
  5. Events in your own life: Whether you're getting married, moving to a new city, or learning to knit, your life is full of fresh material to write about. You can get a ton of mileage out of personal experiences, but you don't have to reveal too many personal details unless you're writing a confessional or essay.

OK, readers. Anything I'm missing? Leave a comment and let me know!