Articles are Nonfiction, Too

I focus so much of my time on editing my client’s nonfiction books and on writing and promoting my own nonfiction book projects that I sometimes forget that I’m trained as a magazine journalist. I still love writing articles, though, and I often use my skills as a journalist. I love to query magazines with ideas and to get assignments. I enjoy conducting the interviews and then taking the information I’ve compiled and putting it together into a cohesive and interesting article. And I enjoy seeing it in print, not just on the screen of my computer.

I use my journalism skills in other ways as well, including every time I promote myself on the Internet by posting free “news releases” to e-zine directories. I do this a few times a month. While it’s good for business, I get a lot more satisfaction out of writing an article that appears in good old fashioned print and for which I receive a big fat check.

There’s nothing like writing an essay or an article, submitting it to a magazine or newspaper and then opening up that publication to find your story published there — hopefully word for word — with your byline showing off the fact that you wrote every one of those words. And then to get paid for doing what you love…well, that’s even better.

And there are so many different types of articles to choose from. Profiles, news stories, trend pieces, human interest articles, personal essays, and opinion pieces — take your pick. Depending upon what you like to write about, you can surely find one or two article forms that you’ll enjoy using and numerous magazines, newspapers, trade journals, or e-zines that will be happy to have you write for them.

If you aren’t concerned about pay, of if you are looking to promote yourself or you other work (such as your nonfiction book), writing for the numerous e-zines provides great exposure. If you’re just starting out as a writer and need bylines and clips to prove that you can write and meet deadlines and article specifications, try writing for small or regional publications. They usually like “free” writers, and working for them can be a fun way to become a nonfiction freelance writer. Additionally, you might try writing for trade journals published on your area of expertise.

As I said, I interned every summer in high school and in college without pay. I ended up with some great clips that helped me land my first few jobs after graduation.

I teach Writing for Publication classes that expose attendees to a variety of article forms. As a magazine journalist, however, I love writing profiles of interesting people and human interest articles. I also love to pen a good essay, which is an article form I did not learn in college. Essays fit my lifestyle these days; I’m usually very short on time, and they don’t require me to do any research or interviews nor are do they have to be too long. My life experience is enough fodder to fill several pages with type since I’ve lots to say about what happens to me, why it happens to me and what others can learn from what happens to me. Getting paid for essays is fun. I write something off the top of my head and someone pays me for it. What could be better?

And as long as I didn’t make it up, it’s still nonfiction. (Ah…Those of you writing memoirs remember that.)

So, if you are trying to figure out what to write this month, try an article. It’s doable in a month, that’s for sure. Pick a topic and a form, then do whatever research is necessary, and start writing. You can easily finish an article in the days left in November.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to work on MY writing project…which, between writing this blog and my other blog and editing a book for a client, seems to be falling by the wayside. And I am determined to finish it before the end of the month.

(Okay…I technically wrote twice today, since yesterday’s blog was written after midnight this morning. I guess that makes up for technically missing Tuesday. If nothing else, I’m writing lots of nonfiction in this blog, that’s for sure!)

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