Janice Hanna Thompson

Janice Hanna Thompson—a south Texas native—is the author of over sixty novels and non-fiction books for the Christian market. She supplements her fiction habit by writing magazine articles, devotions, write-for-hire books and more. One of the chief joys of Janice’s life is training writers to earn a living with the written word. Check out Janice’s “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” course at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The ten lessons in this course were developed to strategically train freelance writers to earn top dollar. Each lesson includes an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum. Email Janice at booksbyjanice[at]aol[dot]com to learn more, or visit her website at www.janicehannathompson.com.

Ho-Ho-Holiday Writing Ideas!

’Tis the season . . . fa-la-la-la-la! I’m gearing up for Christmas, thinking about my six grandchildren, wondering how much money I’m going to spend as I lavish presents upon them. That, of course, has me sneaking peeks at my checking account balance, which—of course—has me thinking about ways to bring in more money during these rough economic times.

What about you? Does the Christmas season send you reeling? Do you wish you had a way to pad your pocketbook as you’re rockin’ around the Christmas tree? If so, there’s good news this season! We’ve spent the last few months talking about ways to supplement your fiction income. In the last two articles, I’ve discussed the importance of magazine article writing in an author’s career. This month I want to talk specifically about the one thing folks in the industry rarely talk about: quick ways to bring in cash.

Sure, article writing is a great way to build your platform. It helps get your name out there. You’re building “brand” by writing on topics that will help you sell your novel(s). But beyond that, article writing is a great way to bring in fast cash, (and who among us couldn’t use a little more of that)? With that in mind, I’ve used a few familiar Christmas carols as prompts for some fast but relevant article ideas. Take my ideas and run with them, or use other song titles to spur new and unique ideas of your own. I hope this list has you singing all the way to the bank!

“Feliz Navidad”: Write a cross-cultural how-to piece: How to celebrate Christmas like our friends in Mexico. How to ring in the New Year like our brothers and sisters in Africa. Home in on the traditions we all have in common.

“It Came upon a Midnight Clear”: Why not write a round-up piece, pulling in quotes from people who work the midnight shift at local stores during the Christmas rush? Stock boys would have a lot to say about Christmas shoppers!

“Joy to the World”: When you think of the word Christmas the word joy always follows. But some people struggle through the holidays. I can remember some really tough Christmases just after my dad and sister died. There’s not always a lot of “joy” to be found. So why not write an article for those who are hurting during the Christmas season? Help them shift their focus by writing a compassionate inspirational piece, empathizing with them. Remember, the goal is to lift their spirits and point them toward the ultimate Giver of joy.

“All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”: Write a personal experience piece focusing on what Christmas was like for you when you were elementary age. Or compose an informative Christmas article from a dentist’s POV. The sugary holidays are likely great for his/her business!

“Silent Night”: Wouldn’t it be fun to put together a reminiscent piece about how many times you’ve spent “the night before Christmas” putting together bicycles for your children, rushing to the store to buy batteries, wrapping gifts, and so on? Our modern-day “silent” night is usually anything but silent. It would also be fun to put together an inspirational piece encouraging families to spend some time in silence on this holy night.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Perhaps you could compose an upbeat article for those who have no one to celebrate Christmas with. Suggest a variety of things they can do to lift their spirits during the holidays—volunteering at homeless shelters, delivering gifts to inner-city children on Christmas morning, cooking a turkey for a underprivileged family . . . that sort of thing.

“Jingle Bells”: This familiar Christmas tune is all about ringing in the season. What special things do you do to ring in the season? Any fun traditions you could share? Maybe you could interview your neighbors (or Facebook friends) to see what special traditions their families observe. Who knows! You might end up with enough information to write two or three articles on the subject! (And you might get some great ideas you can share with your own family.)

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”: Wouldn’t it be fun to spend a day at the mall with Santa, interviewing both children and parents as they wait their turn to visit with the jolly old soul? You could merge their thoughts/comments into a fun article. If you use the “local” angle, newspapers in your area would jump at the chance to carry your article.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas”: Why not put together a fun article for homeschool parents, giving them twelve days’ worth of activities they can do with their children? You might also consider putting together a similar list for church preschool workers. Magazines and Sunday school take-home papers will eat this up!

“What Child is This?” As you think about the Christ-child, think also of the infants around the world who have no one to love them on Christmas morning: AIDS orphans in Africa, drug babies in hospitals who’ve been abandoned by their parents, little ones in foster care. What can we believers do to reach out to these little ones during the holidays? Your article can be filled with ways to minister to children during this special season.

“White Christmas”: I happen to live in south Texas, where it rarely snows. But I have some pretty vivid memories of snowfalls that impacted my life. What about you? Do you have a few “snowy” pieces up your sleeve?

There you go, folks! We've sung our way into some extra cash this Christmas season. That’s the joy of article writing, isn’t it? You can write short, snappy pieces that suit a theme or a particular season. And just think, New Year’s is around corner. Perhaps the advent of a new year will prompt even more article ideas. In the meantime, I hope you have the best Christmas ever. Remember to rest from your writing and focus on the two things that matter most: the Lord and your family.

Feliz Navidad, y’all!