As writers, it’s important that we come up with fresh new ideas on a regular basis. However, we’re wasting our time if we don’t do anything with them. Much better to have a habit of developing ideas and then either writing them up (if it’s fiction) or pitching them (if they’re non-fiction).
I often use the latest issue of a magazine as a prompt, to encourage me to come up with an idea to pitch to that particular publication.
I subscribe to Outdoor Photography magazine and, like most photographic publications, they require a regular stream of photographic submissions to fill their pages. One such slot is their Viewpoint section, where an image and a short 250-word piece is used to whet the reader’s appetite as a potential photographic destination.
Each issue, the editor makes a specific request for ideas for this slot. And without fail, I always pitch a photographic idea. Sometimes this is easier than others. But I always submit.
Thanks to a pitch I made in September 2018, I have a piece in the May 2019 issue of the magazine.
And the pitch I made in October 2018 will be in the June 2019 issue of the magazine too.
See what I mean? Regular pitching can have its regular rewards.
There are some magazines that put a call out to their regular freelance suppliers for ideas on a specific theme. Again, when I get these I always pitch something. If nothing else, it reminds the editor you’re still alive!
And there are times when I can’t think of an idea that I believe will be exciting enough for the editor. And it’s tempting to think, Nah, I won’t bother this time. But I don’t. I always pitch something. And quite frequently, I’m right. My ideas wasn’t exciting enough, and as a result, it wasn’t commissioned. But, surprisingly, there are times when an idea that I felt wouldn’t excite an editor is commissioned.
Which tells me two things:
- It just proves you can’t pre-judge what an editor will think of an idea.
- If you don’t pitch at every opportunity, you lose that opportunity for a commission.
We’re always being advised to write everyday. To make it a habit. The same goes for idea developing and pitching. Make it a regular habit. Do it when you don’t even want to do it. You might be surprised by the results.