If there's one subject practicing writers know, it's writing. And for those who'd like to convert this expertise into paid publication, opportunities abound. Not sure what I mean? Consider these 10 types of "writing on writing":
1. Craft/"how-to" articles. Instructional pieces form the proverbial meat-and-potatoes of many, if not most, writing magazines and newsletters. You'll need some genuine expertise here. Don't try to tell other people how to write a (presumably publishable) short story if you've never completed one yourself. Don't offer tips on book promotion if you've never promoted a book.
2. Market updates/profiles. These articles, often including information for those who want to break in to a specific niche, are also staples of many writing publications. I've written about literary magazines, alumni magazines, family history magazines, and more.
3. Essays on "the writing life." If you have something new to say--something other than a familiar story about rejection, for instance--try some of the writing magazines that look for these pieces. (Humor is often a plus.)
4. Poems on "the writing life." Yes, it's true. Some publications actually do seek poetry specifically about writing. Again, better to "make it new," as Ezra Pound advised.
5. Interviews/Profiles. Think outside the box here. Writing magazines publish interviews with agents and editors as well as with poets and writers. Find out where a writer went to college--the alumni magazine may well be interested in a profile. Where does the writer live? Look into the relevant city/regional magazines.
6. Literary travel pieces. You can pitch some writing magazines with these, but don't forget travel publications, including newspaper travel sections.
7. Literary education pieces and/or reading lists. Time these to coincide with National Poetry Month (April, in the United States and Canada); National Book Month (October); Back-to School, etc.
8. Book reviews. Write about books on writing and/or writers' memoirs. Don't limit yourself to writing-focused publications for placements here. A memoir, in particular, may hold wide appeal for a general readership.
9. College/Career Columns. Don't forget that writing is a part of academic life. I once sold an article to a publication for college students advising collegians how to negotiate the senior thesis-writing process. I sold another article to a parenting publication advising parents on seeing their kids through the college application essay process. And while it may not be easy to remember during breaks between paychecks and publications, writing is a career option, and it's one others want to know about.
10. Op-eds. Writers can (and have) opined, frequently in major newspapers and magazines, on everything from the writing section of the new SAT to the qualities that should define a memoir.
So go ahead, fellow writers. Write on.
? Copyright 2006 Erika Dreifus. All rights reserved.
Bio: In addition to her fiction and her other freelance work, Erika Dreifus has published more than 130 writing-related articles, essays, interviews, op-eds, and book reviews since 2003 in The Writer, Writer's Digest, Poets & Writers, and many other print and online publications. She is also the author of several writing resource guides, including the just-released WRITERS' MARKETS: Where To Sell What You Write When You Write About Writing (http://www.practicing-writer.com and/or http://www.lulu.com/erika-dreifus ). Download your complimentary preview today! Note: This article may be freely reprinted so long as it remains unchanged and is reprinted in its entirety. Please forward a courtesy copy to erikadrei(at)yahoo(dot)com.