The Curiosity List by Rochelle Melander

Dear Writers,

Are you tired of trying to figure out how to earn money writing? Have I got a treat for you! My colleague Kelly James-Enger, known for her ability to earn a six-figure income writing books and articles, will be our guest at the March Write Now! Mastermind class tomorrow (March 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM CDT). James-Enger will be teaching us how to pitch and sell articles to a variety of freelance markets. And, check out Kelly’s article on the yesterday’s blog and enter to win a copy of her brand new book, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing for Print and Online Markets.

Today’s article explains how a simple tool—the curiosity list—can help you discover topics for writing articles.

Happy writing,
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

file5381291239055The Curiosity List By Rochelle Melander

Be curious, not judgmental. —Walt Whitman

What do you wonder about? Many best-selling books have emerged from the questions of people just like you. Rebecca Skloot became curious about the origin of HeLa cells in a high school science class and spent ten years researching and writing the bestselling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Daniel Coyle got curious about super-talented people. His research resulted in the book, The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Chances are, if you wonder about something, other people do, too. Writers, you can make a living exploring the ideas, places, and information that fascinates you. Here’s how:

1. Keep a curiosity list. List everything that you are curious about—experiences, facts, figures, ideas, dreams, blogs, animals, television shows, theories, and so forth. You can keep your list in a small journal or in a file on your computer or smart phone. Do what works for you. Organize this information in any way that is helpful to you. Update this list regularly.

2. Review the list. Once a week, review the list with an eye toward using some of the items in your writing. Ask yourself:
What items on the list pique your curiosity this week?
What curiosities might be a starting place for a poem, story, or blog post?
What items on the list would make good articles?
Who would be interested?
How would you pitch it?
What items on the list might be better suited for a book?
Could anything on the list be part of a fiction narrative?

3. Use it. Once you have chosen an item or two, use it. Do the research and write the query letter. Begin gathering the research for a book. Consider how you will use the idea in your short story, novel, poem, or blog post.

4. Repeat. The curiosity list, like most writing tools, works best when used repeatedly. Whenever you experience writer’s block, turn to the curiosity list to find something new to write about. Or, if you really cannot write that day, use the time to add to the curiosity list.

Your turn: How do you generate article ideas?

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