Finding Your Writing Topics

Jot down a list of every category of topics in which you speak the language, are an expert, know an expert, have an insatiable desire to learn more about, or enjoy as a hobby. The list below comes from the The Writer’s Market. Under each category of topics, The Writer’s Market lists the publications that buy articles on these topics. Use the following list to jog your memory.

  • Advertising, marketing and PR
  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Art, design and collectibleswriting
  • Astrology, Metaphysics, New Age
  • Automotive and motorcycle
  • Aviation and space
  • Beauty and salon
  • Business and finance
  • Business and management
  • Career, College and Alumni
  • Child care & Parenting
  • Church administration and ministry
  • Clothing
  • Confectionery & snack foods
  • Construction and contracting
  • Consumer Service
  • Contemporary culture
  • Detective and crime
  • Disabilities
  • Drugs, healthcare & medical products
  • Education and counseling
  • Electronics and communication
  • Energy and utilities
  • Engineering and technology
  • Entertainment
  • Ethnic and minority
  • Farming
  • Finance
  • Fishing
  • Florists, nurseries and landscapers
  • Food and drink
  • Games and puzzles
  • Government & public service
  • Health and fitness
  • History
  • Hobby & craft
  • Home and garden
  • Home furnishings and household goods
  • Hospitals, nursing homes and nursing
  • Hotels, motels, clubs, resorts
  • Humor
  • Inflight (magazines for frequent flyers)
  • Information systems
  • Insurance
  • Jewelry
  • Journalism & writing
  • Juvenile
  • Law
  • Literary & Little
  • Machinery and metal
  • Maintenance and safety
  • Management and supervision
  • Marine and maritime industries
  • Medical
  • Men’s
  • Military
  • Music
  • Mystery
  • Nature, Conservation and ecology
  • Office equipment
  • Personal computers
  • Pets
  • Photography
  • Plumbing, heating and Air conditioning
  • Printing
  • Politics and world affairs
  • Psychology & self-improvement
  • Real estate
  • Regional
  • Relationships
  • Religious
  • Resources & water reduction
  • Retirement
  • Romance & confession
  • Rural
  • Science
  • Science fiction, fantasy and horror
  • Selling and merchandising
  • Sex
  • Sports
  • Sport trade
  • Stone, quarry & mining
  • Teen & young adult
  • Toy, novelty and hobby
  • Transportation
  • Travel, camping and trailer
  • Women’s

Have your list in hand? Okay. Here you go. The top 10 most profitable topics to write about are:

  • Business and finance
  • Diet & nutrition
  • Essays
  • Fitness and sports
  • Health
  • Home and garden
  • Parenting
  • Profiles & true-life features
  • Technology & science
  • Travel

Do not despair if your list doesn’t match the top ten! See how you can relate your list of topics to the top ten. Tie in your knowledge base with the big selling topics.

Let’s say you checked off MUSIC as a topic. What do you know about music and fitness? Or music and technology? The business of music? Profiles of musicians? Music as therapy? The best music for working out? Because MUSIC is not one of the most profitable topics—you can be the go-to expert more quickly. Tie music to one of the most profitable topics and you are most likely to catch the editor’s interest and present material from a fresh perspective.

When I took up flying, I started subscribing to aviation magazines. The more I read, the more I realized there were few articles written by women or written from a woman’s perspective. After publishing my first article in an aviation magazine, editors started calling me. Only six percent of pilots are women. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I became something of a novelty. I have since come to know the few other women writers in aviation and we each have our distinctive style. Mine is humor, but I have been called upon for straight reporting work as well. A few examples of my aviation writing are found on the General Aviation News website. Other examples are also on this website.

Writing about a hobby and making money doing it is unfettered joy! I even published an essay about the fun of writing about what you love in an essay titled “Call Me Shameless.”

So what would you LOVE to write about? Brainstorm your topics with tie-ins to the most popular topics editors buy. Work can be fun. Make it so.

Next week:

Generating Story Ideas.

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