Write about your Areas of Expertise
Most of them, under 24 years old, groan in dismay. “We’re undergrads,” they tell me. “We have no areas of expertise.”
I beg to differ. The student who came to me last term, full of passion for the game of Beer Pong, could write any number of essays or articles about the . . . well . . . sport. Editors of specialty magazines, including the fabulous Modern Drunkard, are willing to consider a well-written piece on almost anything–as long as it relates to their theme. This student has played Beer Pong all over the world; his international experience lends interest to an already intriguing topic.
You’ve got to hone your craft, of course, and polish your writing. That said, it’s absolutely possible to sell essays and articles about your particular passions. There’s a magazine for almost every interest. Fond of tractors? Check out Toy Farmer. Love going up in a hot air balloon? Look at Balloon Life. Fascinated by miniature donkeys? Miniature Donkey Talk wants to hear from you.
That’s a picture of me with Bodhi, a Barred owl, above. As a hobby, I help to train owls at Eugene’s Cascades Raptor Center. These are permanently injured birds who come out on the glove for visitors. While I have no degree in Biology, I’ve volunteered at CRC for seven years. Because I’ve immersed myself in raptor education and owl training, I’ve been able to write essays for numerous publications. Here’s one from High Country News, titled The Owl and I, which details my relationship with a Great-horned owl named Lorax.
If you’ve managed to apply your butt to your chair, and you find yourself staring at a blank page or screen, identify your areas of expertise. Think about what stories you might tell, and what you might have to teach readers. When you’ve written and polished your piece, grab your copy of Writer’s Market or type the topic and the word “magazine” into your favorite search engine, and prepare to be amazed at the wealth of magazines published on almost every subject.
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