The Writing Life I: Treat your writing as a business

by — Jan. 1, 2001 (Comments)

Yes, I know you already do that. However, there are other ideas that I can infuse into your brain that will give you more organization to your writing.

I am a writer. However, I also work for a specialty magazine. The magazine has an editorial calendar. This particular editorial calendar never changes. It is the same each year. Every month there is a different category for us to plan around.

My proposal is that you do the same in order to organize your talents, research and time. Following the type of writing you do, you can do the same.

For example:


  1. After Christmas

a. Sales – how do stores handle this? How do people react to them? b. Depression – all the decorations come down. There is very little sunshine in some states. Health becomes a factor. c. Travel – what are the bargains for traveling at this time of year? d. Weather (cold climate or sunny warm climate) how do people handle their situations? e. Sports (superbowl) or other sports. How do people wait for their sport to begin again? f. Resolutions – aspects of making them, breaking them! See my article New Year’s Resolutions – Use A Chalk Board. g. Inauguration, every 4 years.

There are a lot of areas and different magazines to write and submit. The one element that you must remember is that magazines need these articles 4-6 months in advance. Therefore, if you want to write about any of the January topics, you need to think about your research and the writing 6-8 months prior to January (May/July). Take a page and mark it MAY. Write down all the ideas for articles. Then for each idea write down step by step what preparations you need to make prior to writing the article, for example, research, which books to read, whom to interview, where to travel and getting the information online.

January is a great month to write about. However, you must get into the January frame of mind in May. May has a Spring quality to it. Everything is fresh and new, however, January is still dark, cold and sometimes stagnant, unless of course you ski, travel, live in a sunshine state or can stay inside in front of a roaring fire. There are as many different story ideas as there are states in the union. Each state, for example, has their own problems with weather, power, water, also celebrities and attractions in big cities and little cities. Don’t think of celebrities as actors and models, but also, celebrities are people who are in the midst of solving problems. For example, look at the Bill Gates of your community. S/He may not be earning a fortune, but s/he is more than likely the hero in your area. There are many people who could and should be recognized. Success is not always money, success is how a life is lived, how solutions are reached and these persons are the best teachers of life’s lessons.

You need to be aware that the articles you write in May for the January issue should not be about old issues. The timely quality of your article is like wearing a fad after the newness has worn off, you will look out of place. The article will not get published. If you absolutely have a hard time getting into the January frame of mind in May, you can take all your ideas for January and do them in January and present them in May/July. However, you must realize the writing and timeliness of the articles should be considered. There are some older articles that I have read in old magazines that are relevant and interesting today. However, that is not the rule, but rather the exception. Keep that in mind when writing your article.

You can further divide the month into weeks. By dividing it further and making a plan, you will write more. The organization and planning does increase your writing. I do not recommend division into days because there are too many variables in our daily life and too many obstructions. Frustration and defeat is not what I am attempting to organize myself into and that would do it.

Next time I will discuss February. There is a month with a lot of potential even though it is short.