Write about your hobbies–and get paid for it

12 Sep


(This article originally appeared in Writing for Dollars.)

When you’’re not working or writing, how do you spend your spare time? Are there activities or hobbies that you just simply love?

Perhaps you knit or build model airplanes; you jog or garden; take photographs or read romance novels; fly kites or grow vegetables.

Those things that you might consider casual hobbies can actually provide you with a wealth of writing ideas. There is an almost limitless market for articles related to a myriad of hobbies and special interests. The key is to find out what your marketable hobbies are, and to then determine where to sell your writing.

Over the years, I have written about a number of my hobbies and special interests. I’’ve written about scrapbooking, mystery novels, photography, journaling, and quilting. And I’’ve written these for some unlikely sources. (I wrote about scrapbooking, —my current favorite “obsession, ”—for a Christian magazine, profiling a group of women who get together each month at a church to engage in their hobby. I wrote about photography for a parenting magazine, on how to take great holiday pictures.) And that’’s the real key here—–to discover how you can sell your hobby articles in a creative way.

Do you want to get started doing something similar? Here are several keys to getting paid to write about your hobbies—

1 – Determine your hobbies. Start by sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and simply listing all of the hobbies and “extracurricular” activities that you’re involved in. Think about the way you spend your time when you’’re not doing your “day job”; what takes up most of your time, extra money, and energy? You probably will end up with a list that includes crafts (things such as painting or sewing), athletic activities (weightlifting, adult softball), performing arts (singing, playing a musical instrument), and collecting (coins, dolls).

2 – Determine if those hobbies are marketable. Ask yourself: Is this hobby something that a significant number of other people do? Are there any magazines published on the topic? You need to make sure that the articles you could write about your hobby would be ones that would be interesting or beneficial to readers. You can’’t, for example, simply write about your stamp collection; you must find a specific slant to the topic that is marketable.

3 – Determine the kinds of writing you can do on the hobby. Some of the possibilities here include: how-to get started on the hobby or activity, how to improve aspects of the hobby, personality pieces on individuals involved in the hobby, a unique personal perspective on the hobby, historical articles on the hobby, even travel pieces connected with the hobby.

4 – Find specific markets for your articles. Some of the best places to sell your hobby articles include specific hobby magazines. Look in the Writer’s Market and you will find magazines devoted to everything from teddy bears to hot air ballooning. Another excellent market is children’s magazines; children love to learn about interesting hobbies and activities. Other possibilities include retirement magazines (older adults often have more time to devote to hobbies), women’s magazines, and religious magazines. And don’t forget your local newspaper or regional publication if you can find a local slant to your topic.

5 – Do research for your article. Your own expertise and experience with your hobby will be the first place to start when it comes to doing research for your article. Consider talking to other experts in the area, however—specifically, others who share your love for the hobby. There are many places to find such sources. Find out if there are any national or regional organizations dedicated to your hobby (there are groups such as the Craft and Hobby Association of America devoted to things such as scrapbooking and paper arts, for example). Look to see if there are any hobby groups in your area (my local library, for example, hosts crochet, quilting, and calligraphy groups each month). Then consider talking to salespeople and managers at hobby stores, or other stores dedicated to the hobby or activity you’re writing about.

6 – Become a “specialist” in the area. Once you’’ve published a few pieces on your hobby topic, begin promoting yourself as a specialist. You can start saying, “I’’m a writer who specializes in cycling” or “I’’m a freelancer who writes often on stamp collecting.” By promoting yourself in this way, you are showing that you have expertise in the field and you will find more receptive markets.

Writing about hobbies provides you with numerous opportunities to get published and be paid. And what could be better than getting the chance to write about something you love?


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