Find Your Writing Niche: Suggest a column to an editor

Write a column on your specialty

I’ve always enjoyed reading columns, primarily political and humorous ones, and decided to ask my then-editor if I could write a column on fashion tips. She agreed, and the column ran every two weeks for several months before the editor said she needed the space for other topics.

I was disappointed, but I had established myself at that newspaper as someone who could consistently produce a column. When we entered the 21st century, the same editor came to me and asked if I would write a biweekly column on using the Internet. I could frame it to my liking and run with it.

I named my column Site Seeing, and decided to offer advice on how to find worthwhile, meaningful Web sites. With each column I either chose a specific Web site and explained its value and told how to navigate it or chose a topic, such as window treatments, and named the Web sites that provided the best information on the topic.

Ideal vacation locales for families, where to learn if you were named in an unclaimed inheritance, what amazon.com offered. I was intent on covering all topics I considered interesting to the average consumer.

After four years, I realized that the public was becoming more sophisticated and didn’t need me to tell them what sites to see. Consumers had embraced the computer age and were learning to use the Internet quite well on their own. I knew it was time to put my column to rest.

Now I’m working as a freelance writer for a different newspaper in a different state, and about eight years ago my editor asked if I would write a monthly column on events in my area. I agreed and named it Brunswick Buzz because it concerns Brunswick County, N.C. Five years, the newspaper shifted its focus, and Brunswick Buzz became North Strand Roundup to include a wider circulation area. I continue to write this column and love learning about all the events taking place in my vicinity.

You can do the same thing. Determine your special talent: photography, caretaker for the elderly, digital scrapbooking, cooking, baking, sewing. Search the Web for online publications and make the suggestion to the editor that you write a column. Investigate print publications and see if they accept your offer.

Write three columns on the topic and send them to an editor. It may be exactly what that publication needs.

 

 

 

Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for several years and specialize in writing feature stories. I have more than a 1,000 bylines to my credit and have written on countless topics from autism to zoology. My columns on fashion and the Internet appeared in a Chicago area newspaper in the 90s. “Brunswick Buzz,” the column in The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. daily, ran for seven years then “Events on the North Strand” took over in October 2013, also in The Sun News.

  1. Mei says:

    That last one still chokes me up. I love him and his foellw soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors for all that they do for us.God Bless them All!

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