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The holidays are fast approaching—which means it’s time to get writing! Put aside any thoughts of a pre-holiday writing break and get ready for some festive and productive fun. Holiday writing is plum full of opportunities that can bring bounds of joy, not to mention some well-earned cash. Try these ideas, and prepare for holiday season 2017 the writer’s way:

Get Ready for the Winter Olympics

Craft a story or article about the 2018 Winter Olympics, just around the holiday corner. Write about the host country of South Korea, a new sport being added, a rising star athlete, or whatever angle strikes your interest. Olympic topics are engaging, plentiful, and lucrative.

Write a Holiday Recipe

Got a unique holiday recipe you’d like to share, like a festive cookie or a favorite dish from your great-grandma’s recipe box? Food publishers are always on the lookout for tasty holiday fare. Be sure to test your recipe out, write it well, and include mouthwatering pictures.

Go on a Shopping Spree

This one will pay off big; you’ll get a jumpstart on holiday shopping and first dibs on the inventory, plus you can sell a piece about your shopping experience—like tips on finding the perfect gift, how to beat the rush, where to shop, and ways to get the best deals this season.

Write Your Personal Gift List

The holidays are all about giving and receiving. Focus on receiving for a minute and consider what might boost your writing potential in 2018. A new style book? A different desk or lamp for your office? Don your thinking cap and put together a gift list that’ll help further your career.

Draft a Holiday Game

If you enjoy playing games during the holiday season, here’s an idea: create one of your own. Draft holiday trivia questions or a word game or puzzle. Holiday games and puzzles are in high demand, especially in the children’s market. And who better to write an intriguing game than you!

Research Holiday Writer Events

Lots of events for writers come to town during the holidays. See if one of your favorite authors is scheduled to speak, look into a writer’s workshop, or attend a local bookstore’s holiday event. Listening and learning from the pros can go a long way in enhancing your writing efforts.

Don’t let the holidays slide by without taking advantage of the many opportunities available to utilize and hone your craft. Try these activities, and prepare for a productive season of writing.

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Do you, like many of us writers, have those days when you wonder why you write? You think maybe all the effort you’re putting into your freelance career just isn’t paying off. You start to compare yourself to people who have “real” jobs. They have a regular schedule, a regular paycheck, an office to go to, and co-workers. You, on the other hand, work at home, sometimes at odd hours, often with little pay, sometimes with no pay, and mostly in solitude. No one really understands what you do, so you don’t bother talking about it and no one bothers asking.

Writing is often like that. But here’s the good news: You have a gift. It’s a gift that few have. Oh sure, anyone can write an email or a text message or even draft a letter, but I’m talking about serious, substantive writing. Writing that actually entertains, informs, or explains. Writing that makes readers laugh or cry or stirs up emotions they never thought they had. Writing that helps someone, heals another, or offers hope. Writing that comforts, excites, or challenges.

Every time you write something like that and pass it on, whether you post it or publish it or just share it with another human being, you are giving something. The more you write, the more you give.

Have you ever noticed how after a tragedy scores of people step up and help those in need? I am always amazed by it. But as a writer, I don’t always realize how important writing, even my writing, can be to others, every day, tragedy or not.

So despite all the frustrations of being a writer, remember all the good you do when you write. You have a gift that keeps on giving. Sometimes that gift is exceptionally valuable, maybe even life-saving. And knowing that can make the payoff bigger than anything you might get from a “real” job.

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