Well, Halloween is coming, Thanksgiving is around the corner and Christimas looms. And you know, don’t you, that right after New Year’s the grocery, card and drug stores are going to be filling their display racks with pink and red hearts, ribbons, candy and flowers to tempt our pocketbooks for yet another holiday. And even before that there’s the Super Bowl; a big hairy deal with guys everywhere. That’s just the way it is. For writer’s this looking forward to the next big day is part and parcel of what we do. We’re advised to think of our commonly celebrated holidays far in advance if we want to write about them. But lately I’ve wondered if that’s necessary.
If you have one, flip through a 2013 calendar and you’ll notice that – there! – St. Patrick’s Day is still in March. Wow. And Easter is coming again this year and so is Independence Day. There will again be four seasons and tax day, the first day of summer, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and so much more. Reviewing all of this should bring to mind that favorite term of editors and writers alike; evergreen. And all of this is to say that you’ll probably do your best writing for any event or season as you experience it, not as you try to remember it. So what kind of seasonal material sells?
1. Children’s stories – There’s not a “special day,” that goes by but that we want a story to illustrate it for our children. Next Halloween gather all the spooky you can and scribble away! Magazine editors, e-zine editors, publishers of young adult and picture books, and play publishers need your material. Be ready for this and other seasonal demands.
2. Magazines – Don’t your eyes just zoom to that beautiful fall arrangement on the cover of Woman’s Day magazine while you’re loading lettuce and cereal onto the belt at the supermarket? Buy it. Read it. Figure out what you could do that would be perfect for them next spring while this spring is all around you.
3. Anthologies – Many are thriving and new ones are popping up all the time. And seasonal themes abound. Christmas memories, special birthday celebrations, childhood memories of Thanksgiving – my, the list goes on. And something is coming up soon that you can write about and sell to one of them.
4. Frugal Living – Whatever you’re learning about how to survive the brutal winter write about it – now! If some critter has invaded the garden you broke your back tending and you’ve found an economical way to solve the problem, write about it – now! Publications like Dollar Stretcher will welcome your findings. You’ll be way ahead of the other writers who are trying to think of wintry things in sweltering July or imagining balmy beaches while watching snowdrifts piling up.
Being “in the moment,” was and still is the mantra of many and it definitely has its charms. You could be one of those writers who benefits from that sentiment. Live and write in the moment for maximum affect. Try one of these markets for the excellent evergreen piece you’re about to write for whatever season you’re in right now.
Dollar Stretcher – Pays $.10 per word. See guideles at www.stretcher.com
Greenprints – Pays up to $150 for stories http://www.greenprints.com/en/content/12-writer-guidelines
Knowonder – Pays up to $50 per story and prize money for the Editor’s Choice Award www.knowonder.com
Seattle Woman – Payment varies http://www.seattlewomanmagazine.com/guidelines.htm
Thin Threads – Pays $100 per accepted story http://www.thinthreads.com/submit.php
Of course you’ll be doing all of your regular writing in addition to your “evergreens,” but why not give yourself the edge?
Image: Free Digital Photos