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Poppy
04-14-2005, 07:20 AM
Hey y'all,

You've heard "write what you know" before, but I need a little help with finding out what I know so I can write about it. I'm not saying I don't know anything because I know I do, I just can't seem to pinpoint very many things. I need some ideas for some 'how-to' type articles, and they need to be at least 1,000 words long. So far, the ideas I've come up with would be good for "short filler", but as 1,000-2,000 word articles, there'd be way too much fluff.

So I was hoping you all could ask me questions and offer some suggestions with regards to what I know. *Note: no need to mention greeting card writing, I've made a note of that one already. I also realize that articles don't always have to be about what you know, but since I'm new at this kind of writing, I thought what I know would be a good place to begin.

Oh, and I suppose it would help if I told you all a little bit more about myself. I'm a 33-year-old wife and mother from rural Mississippi. I have lived here my entire life. I like writing (duh), collecting the art and comics of Joe Linsner, listening to rock music, and watching movies (mostly sci-fi and comedies). I also enjoy cooking and baking. I have a few ideas along those lines, but most would be 'too short' to amount to a good, fleshed-out article so I'm saving those for filler.

Okay, so can anyone help me narrow my 'fields of expertise' down? I know I'm probably overlooking lots of options. Thanks. :)

brokenfingers
04-14-2005, 07:37 AM
Howzabout hot tubs??

Poppy
04-14-2005, 07:43 AM
Never been in one, don't even know anyone in my RL who has one. (The virtual one in Ray's House of Love Party thread doesn't count.) :)

JAlpha
04-14-2005, 07:47 AM
Poppy,


What type of markets would these articles be geared towards?

Off the top of my head, I'd love to hear about your rural experiences--maybe from the angle of how to live the rural experience in the middle of a big city--implying the notion that living in rural america can be a desired mindset. I actually live in a very populated area outside Atlanta--a community of gated country clubs and golf courses. In truth though, I want nothing more in life than to live at the end of a dirt road. I run off to the north Georgia mountains every chance I get, and once the last of my children are off to college, I'm there! But in the meantime, how can I live a "rural" life, if not in body than spirit.

I'm suggesting a whole new spin on the stream of articles and books that were written in the mid 90's during the whole internet bubble thing that suggested people should live the "simple life". One book that comes to mind is The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for less stressful more joyful living. There were hundreds of articles with similiar messages. Perhaps it's time to revive that theme again.
JAlpha

sgtsdaughter
04-14-2005, 07:49 AM
Poppy,

Start with writing about something that makes you laugh, angry, or anything along those lines. Broad huh? The point is start out with a few rants, observations, or opinions . . . then you'll have a few piles of tangible interests to get you going in a more straightforward direction.

You will be surprised at how much you will be able to produce. Keep these for your own personal files, and use them as idea starters for larger (and more researched) products.

Hope that helps.
A.

Rose
04-14-2005, 08:01 AM
Hi Poppy,

I'm sure you already know that 1,000-1,200 words isn't nearly as many as it seems! What about these ideas:

How to exude Southern Charm: Ten Tips from a Mississipi Mom. (Try a 100 introduction + ten 90-word tips...the kind of tip that gives the tip then explains it)

How to exude Southern Charm: Ten Tips from a Mississipi Native.

How to Spot a Collector's Comic (use real life examples from your Linsner collection, maybe five, 200-word sections such as What to Look For, Where to Find Them, Ways to ID a fake, Resources, and Current Value of Comics)

How to Make a Fine Southern Dinner For Two

How to Make a Fine Southern Dinner for a Family of Four

I think I've read some threads about storms or floods in your area. How about: How To Storm Proof Your House, How to Teach Your Kids Storm Safety, 10 Things Every Family Must Do to be Weather a Storm, etc.

Hope this helps!

gena140
04-14-2005, 08:09 AM
As a Southerner I think anything that is about the things that are uniquely Southern experiences will be interesting reading.

Off the top of my head I'd say talk about the rural area of Mississippi and how it differs/ or is the same as other rural areas of the country.

Talk about being a Southern mother, and the values you hold, and how they fit into the values other mother's may hold.

William Haskins
04-14-2005, 08:10 AM
spending 30 minutes with a brother-in-law rebuilding a water pump, or a rural mail carrier on his route, or a mother of twins, or a neuter/spay specialist... these things expand what you know.

we don't know anything intrinsically. we learn from experience, yes, but also from observation. just because you don't experience something first hand doesn't mean you can't know it.

email interviews with professionals in different fields, observing people doing things and asking them questions and good ol' fashioned research can make any of us experts for 1000-2000 words.

Liam Jackson
04-14-2005, 08:22 AM
Excellent comment Will. Much of what we know, we learned from observation and not from hands-on. The knowledge is no less valid.

BlueTexas
04-14-2005, 08:27 AM
You could write about 'things a city person should know when moving to a small town'. I'd like to read that.

-throwing baby showers
-kid foods to serve at adult parties (I have no kids, and when they show up, I'm at a loss every time!)
-what the heck is the difference in all those flours in the grocery store, eg, cake flour, gluten-free, self-rising...

wurdwise
04-14-2005, 08:47 AM
Write what you feel passionately about.

Poppy
04-14-2005, 08:48 AM
I'm just in this *funk* right now where I can't get "into" anything. If I am not interested in it, or excited about it, then my readers certainly won't be.

I read this article (http://www.absolutewrite.com/site/how_to_outgrow.htm) by Jenna a while back, and can't even answer most of those questions.

I know this *funk* is a result of losing my grandparents. I'm not using that as an excuse or looking for pity, I'm just being honest when I say their deaths have affected my desire to write. Soon after they died, I remember thinking that I didn't care if I ever wrote again. It's gradually been getting better since then, but I still don't feel like I'm back to "normal." Has anyone else ever had this problem? Surely some have. It would reassure me if I knew what I'm going through is okay and will get better.

Sorry if this got all personal, but I have been concerned about it.

wurdwise
04-14-2005, 08:50 AM
Write about how you are feeling now.

Celeste
04-14-2005, 08:50 AM
Hey y'all,

You've heard "write what you know" before, but I need a little help with finding out what I know so I can write about it. I'm not saying I don't know anything because I know I do, I just can't seem to pinpoint very many things. I need some ideas for some 'how-to' type articles, and they need to be at least 1,000 words long. So far, the ideas I've come up with would be good for "short filler", but as 1,000-2,000 word articles, there'd be way too much fluff.

So I was hoping you all could ask me questions and offer some suggestions with regards to what I know. *Note: no need to mention greeting card writing, I've made a note of that one already. I also realize that articles don't always have to be about what you know, but since I'm new at this kind of writing, I thought what I know would be a good place to begin.

Oh, and I suppose it would help if I told you all a little bit more about myself. I'm a 33-year-old wife and mother from rural Mississippi. I have lived here my entire life. I like writing (duh), collecting the art and comics of Joe Linsner, listening to rock music, and watching movies (mostly sci-fi and comedies). I also enjoy cooking and baking. I have a few ideas along those lines, but most would be 'too short' to amount to a good, fleshed-out article so I'm saving those for filler.

Okay, so can anyone help me narrow my 'fields of expertise' down? I know I'm probably overlooking lots of options. Thanks. :)


Like Rose said, 1000/2000 words really isn't as long as it seems. When I first starting writing articles, I struggled with the same thing. It seemed no matter what I wrote about I just couldn't seem to get past 600/800 words. It just got easier as I gained more experience. Don't ask me how. Lol... But that was something that drove me nuts, not being able to get to that 1000 word count without ruining the article.

Based on what you've given as 'what you know', I'd suggest...

Topics concerning parenting examples:
"How to help your child conquer fear"
"A Mother Speaks up for Censorship"
"A Baby the First Year"
"How to Protect our Children from Influences"

Topics on marriage:
"Do men want clever wives?"
"Do you Dare to be Honest in a Marriage?"
"Can Husband's and Wives be Friends?"
"What became of the Man I married?"

Advice and Self-help:
"Kill that can't Complex"
"Put your Worries to Work"
"Shut the Doors Behind you: Coping with Regret & Missed Opportunities"

Just get creative with Advice, Personal experience, Protest & Controversy, Essays, Humor, Inspiration...

The list goes on...

And there's soooo much you can do with cooking! Pick up a few copies of Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Day, etc.. study what they publish. You'll be hit with a ton of ideas of your own.

Whatever you want to write about, whether it be parenting, marriage, music, art, etc.... find a couple publications, or even read articles from their website, that are similar to something you'd want to submit to, read their articles and go from there.

There's a two books called Writing Articles from the Heart and The Writer's Idea Book that are really good for getting the ideas flowing.

Well, I hope I've been able to help some. From what you've given as 'what you know', there's tons you could write about.

Good luck!

celeste

Poppy
04-14-2005, 08:55 AM
Oh, and I'm sorry, I forgot to say thanks to all of you for taking the time to help me. :)

Thank you all. :Hug2:

Celeste
04-14-2005, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by poppyhullings

....I remember thinking that I didn't care if I ever wrote again. It's gradually been getting better since then, but I still don't feel like I'm back to "normal." Has anyone else ever had this problem?

Hell yeah, I've had that problem. This past Sept. I was house hunting, my apartment was packed in boxes cluttering up the entire place, my marriage was going sh**, in Oct. I closed on my house, had all the unpacking to do, then Christmas come around, then I got involved in other things that turned out to be a huge mistake that took up and wasted a lot of my time. So, since Sept, I've just now, in the past month, gotten out of my stuper and finally got my head cleared and focused, give myself a good kick in the rear and got back to work. Hopefully, it won't take you as long as it did me to get yourself moving again. But, I can definitely relate.

I just had to tell myself..."Okay! Enough screwing around! Get busy!" Lol...

But there's also been times when I wanted to write, but just couldn't get in the groove. I didn't think I was ever going to get out of it. But it'll pass.

celeste

bjewel77
04-14-2005, 05:57 PM
Never been in one, don't even know anyone in my RL who has one. (The virtual one in Ray's House of Love Party thread doesn't count.) :)

Poppyhullings, I think you just brought up a good article here! Write about what you as a rural girl have never done, that some people would take for granted. Then, turn it around and write about what a rural girl has done (you), and might take for granted and what a city girl has probably never done.

Contrast the lives of a city girl and yourself.
At least, this idea set off a lightbulb in my head, as I am also a rural girl, living in the Ozark mountains of Northwest Arkansas all my life. :Sun:

bjewel77
04-14-2005, 06:04 PM
Hell yeah, I've had that problem...(snipped)...But there's also been times when I wanted to write, but just couldn't get in the groove. I didn't think I was ever going to get out of it. But it'll pass.
celeste

I've been there, and done that. Matter of fact, still finding myself there more times than not.

We've just gotta hang in there! :poke:

Poppy
04-14-2005, 06:27 PM
Poppyhullings, I think you just brought up a good article here! Write about what you as a rural girl have never done, that some people would take for granted. Then, turn it around and write about what a rural girl has done (you), and might take for granted and what a city girl has probably never done.

Actually, I have written something similar to that, but it never turned into anything 'good enough' to submit. LOL I think it needs a good, thorough revision.

Specifically, I need an idea for a 'how-to' type article that is at least 1,000 words.
So far, my mind is --------------------------------

I'm about to go out for a while so maybe that will help me clear my head.

Thanks again everyone for trying to help me. :) I appreciate it.

Poppy
04-14-2005, 06:33 PM
I think we all need a good writer's retreat. :D

veinglory
04-14-2005, 07:07 PM
Just throwing out some ideas:

How to throw a stress-free dinner party
12 ways to amuse a small child for half an hour (for the frazzled parent)
Awkward things your kid will ask you, an what to say
How to 'baby-proof' your house
How to get your husband to help with the housework (without nagging)

Ummm....

BlueTexas
04-14-2005, 07:24 PM
Poppyhullings, I think you just brought up a good article here! Write about what you as a rural girl have never done, that some people would take for granted. Then, turn it around and write about what a rural girl has done (you), and might take for granted and what a city girl has probably never done.

Contrast the lives of a city girl and yourself.
At least, this idea set off a lightbulb in my head, as I am also a rural girl, living in the Ozark mountains of Northwest Arkansas all my life. :Sun:

I'd read that. I'd buy a magazine with that article title on the cover. Write it Poppy!

Poppy
04-14-2005, 08:48 PM
12 ways to amuse a small child for half an hour (for the frazzled parent)I read amuse as 'abuse' the first time. hahaha Whoops!




How to get your husband to help with the housework I haven't figured this one out yet, but as soon as I do, I'll let y'all know. :)

Thanks y'all, the wheels are turning now.


It's been a hectic week for me so maybe it's just a matter of focusing. I have all sorts of things on my to-do list, some of which have nothing to do with writing, but all I can do is one thing at a time. ::deep breath:: Stop trying to do ten things at once, Poppy, and focus on one until you get it done.

awatkins
04-14-2005, 10:32 PM
I think we all need a good writer's retreat. :D

I second the motion!!

:Hug2: Poppy

Fractured_Chaos
04-14-2005, 11:31 PM
Poppy, the 'thing's' you know aren't nearly as important as the 'heart' you know. You can get enough information on just about any subject to make a story convincing. But the one thing you -do- know, is how you feel in any given situation.

How would you feel if you caught your husband cheating on you?
How would you feel to come home and find all your friends and family jumping up and yelling "Surprise!"
What if you witnessed a crime?
What if the doctor told you that you only had six months left to live?
What if the guy you had a secret crush on for years revealed he felt the same?
How about the day your child graduates from college?
What if he'd struggled through due to a handicap?

The -emotion- involved is often more important than the mechanics.


:Hug2: