How to Get Freelance Writing Ideas (Which Will Earn You Dollars)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that ideas are everywhere. Once you start writing for dollars, you'll get a sixth sense, as it were. Call it a freelance writing radar or antenna, its function is to enable you to easily spot a story when you run into one. This article is about honing this particular ability.
So where does one get ideas?
The primary source of freelance writing ideas is the news, of course. When watching TV, reading a newspaper or magazine or an online publication, train yourself to be on the lookout for possible subjects. Always be inspired by the fact that you live in a particular place, and that particular place is your territory and you are very familiar with that territory. More broadly speaking, you are living in the Philippines, and there are many international publications which are interested in what’s happening in our country, including the newsworthy activities of the personalities living or visiting here.
So what kind of ideas does one have to look out for?
Actually any kind.
First, you should start out with your areas of interests. Writing what you have a natural inclination for will make the process of finding and researching the idea, and the writing of the article itself, a lot easier. If you have a passion for sports, always be aware of the developments in the games you watch. After my initial couple of articles on pool and billiards, for example, I naturally waited for upcoming international pool tournaments in the country and visiting pool players.
But you don’t necessarily have to write about the things that interest you. I, for example, wrote about Patis Tesoro’s collection of Ninay Dolls without previous knowledge about collecting dolls. (It helped of course that I had a girlfriend who was knowledgeable about fashion, and whom I brought along with me when I interviewed Patis.)
To help you out in finding ideas, here are some questions you might always want to keep at the back of your head:
What are your passions and hobbies? The name of the freelance writing game is specialization, and there are a lot of international publications focusing on a particular niche (e.g. quilting, biking, sewing, jewelry-making, mobile phones, cars, etc.). It’s almost always the case that there’s a market for anything interesting you can think of.
Which famous or interesting personalities are coming over to your neck of the woods? When comedian Rex Navarrete for example, first came to the Philippines, I knew that a foreign publication would be very interested. Eventually, I found the San Francisco Journal which ran my story about Rex’s visit and his Filipino roots.
Are there any new inventions or/and discoveries by Filipinos? Any achievement by a Filipino which an international audience will find interesting?
What’s unique about your locale? Any place a tourist might find fascinating?
Does a relative, friend, acquaintance, or neighbor have a unique story to tell? Did something inspiring, for example, happened to him or her which will make for a compelling story?
I think you already catch my drift. The important thing is to always have that ‘freelance writing radar’ up, always asking questions, always thinking, “There’s a story there somewhere...”
Dino Manrique is the owner/publisher of FilipinoWriter.com. You may reach him at filipinowriter (at) gmail (dot) com.