Getting paid for your words sounds like the perfect path for wordsmiths around the world, and it can be. The trick is to choose to write in places that produce the income while keeping on track with what you are trying to accomplish.
Be careful not to fall down the query rabbit hole.
When I started my professional content writing career, forums were still a major part of the online experience. I learned to harness the power of my “creativity” to write on a wide range of topics. One of my regular forum clients asked me to expand into writing posts for his websites. That content writing led to more content writing opportunities until I was writing about 100 articles a month for clients.
Writing for others took so much time and focus that I didn’t have as much time to focus on my personal writings. I had to find a balance that worked for me.
Plan to Get Paid for Your Words
The easiest way to get paid for your words is to find a publication that you connect with and reach out to the submission editor. The second way is to utilize a writer’s market publication. And finally, a general search for “writer guidelines” or “submission guidelines” on any search engine can begin to give you some options.
1. Determine before you begin.
Before you query a single word, determine how much outside work you want to do.
2, Define what you want to do for others.
Short content, short stories, ghostwriting, bylines – whatever form you want to put your words to work, know before you go.
3. Dictate your time.
It will take time to query, to write, and to edit. You only get 24 hours each day. Set a limit on how you will utilize that time.
Where to Start Your Search
The only thing that limits where you can pitch your writing is where you look. Do a search that includes a focus on your favorite topics. Do a search that leans into something you’ve already written (many publications will take second prints).
Always take time to get to know the publication. You want to capture the voice of the publication and the language flow (do they even use contractions?).
Read through the guidelines and FOLLOW those guidelines. The easiest way to get rejected or just flat out ignored is to ignore the requests of the publication.
CopyHackers wants queries, not posts, so be sure you can powerfully and concisely pitch your idea!
Have a list of ten things on your mind? Listverse is looking for . . . well, lists! They have to be your ideas (but backed up by other reputable sources) and a sense of humor is a pulse. BONUS for things that are unusual or especially interesting.
While Reader’s Digest doesn’t accept article proposals, you can submit your best joke, cartoon, or 100-Word True Story.
WritersWeekly not only wants to get your query, but they have some great advice for how to write a powerful query for short form and for books.
Writers Digest tends to lean towards established writers, but you don’t know until you pitch.
Today’s Christian Living looks for completed articles – but be sure to take time to read some of the back publications so you get a feel for the voice of the magazine.
To Submit to AARP, you need to have a one-page query letter and RECENT writing samples. Keep in mind they RARELY use unsolicited ideas, but the only way to get there is to keep trying.
The Upper Room Daily Devotional looks for strong meditations that are 250 – 400 words and have a personal story, connected scripture, and an easy application for daily life.
Charisma Magazine is another publication that doesn’t publish a lot of unsolicited content, but they are still open to your query. Their submission site not only offers what they are looking for, but reasons they reject queries as well.
Do you want to write for children (8 – 12)? Clubhouse is a magazine published by Focus on the Family that provides “wholesome, educational material with Scriptural or moral insight. They are looking for fiction as well as nonfiction COMPLETED manuscripts.
Find what works for you and then get to work finding ways to get paid for your words.