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
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!
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
“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
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.
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.
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
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!