Later this month, my interview with Sarah Elaine Hawkinson of Sasee magazine will appear in the always erudite and inspirational Women on Writing monthly newsletter. (And if you’re not already subscribing, I hope you’ll consider signing up today!) Among other subjects, we’ll discuss how Sasee publishes writing based on a particular theme, such as October’s “Renew & Revamp,” which I covered in my essay “A New Shade of Me.”
Seeking to build your own writing portfolio? If so, consider writing for the season. Whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Memorial Day, for example, the holiday provides that instant timely hook editors just love. This year, I wrote several pieces specifically geared to the season. “Modern Conveniences” (Pinestraw, December 2022) was a humorous piece based on a Thanksgiving dinner saved by the voice of my Grandma Wilma and “How to Host a Holiday Party with Style While Living with M.S.” (Healthline, November 28) was written specifically for Christmas.
I don’t always get something written in time, but because the days seem to pass by so quickly, I don’t sweat a passed deadline. In fact, now I try to plan ahead. For example, I’ve already thought of new ideas for Christmas of 2023, based on events of this year. A piece I pitched to an editor for Valentine’s Day didn’t quite make the cut, but she was kind enough to help me figure out a way to make it work for March. So never give up on those “evergreen” ideas, either.
As I learned in classes taught by best-selling author Susan Shapiro, just keep writing. An editor who Zoomed into one meeting advised us to be prepared by keeping a treasure chest of pieces based on our own areas of expertise. Just wait, she said, your time will come. A special event, such as a new study or a new book, may very well spur the need for your work. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to set a Google Alert for words based on your favorite subjects.
Thinking ahead to the New Year, I hope these tips help you meet your writing goals for 2023. In the meantime, please have a Merry Christmas, try to stay warm, and enjoy the rest of the season.