I caught up on some date work over the weekend and now I’ve had time to let some of the ideas percolate, I came back to it yesterday morning and chose a few I might have a go at for May. The first job of the day was to revisit all of the ideas and colour-code the ones I’ve chosen green for ‘go’. Some of the others I think are too good to waste, so I highlighted those ones yellow. The rest will fall by the wayside, until next year if they’re evergreens.
I wrote up the May throwaways part of this blog post and then went off to share it on the potential revenue-earning sites. I had to bulk it out a bit because Vocal doesn’t like stories under 600 words. This took a lot longer than I thought it would and I’ve decided that in future I’ll schedule it in to the diary so that it isn’t taking time away from anything else. Yesterday it meant I didn’t have time to work on anything else of my own as my ‘my work’ time was done.
The throwaway writing ideas are below.
By the time I’d done all of that, it was dinner time and once again I chose to take my dinner break away from the desk. The poet made me a nice salad and I went to eat with him. He tested negative first thing, but when he went back to the little testing thing, that pesky little line had appeared. Very fine, but there all the same. He was feeling a lot better and thought he’d kicked it into touch. Alas, he’s still testing positive, and that may have repercussions later this week.
When I got back to my desk I did some more editing work while I had good light. I managed to clear several chapters this time before moving on to the ghostwriting.
Every month I do a think/write/submit writing exercise. I usually ‘think’ around 6 months ahead, but I’m catching up a bit. So while I’d normally be ‘thinking’ August, ‘writing’ July and ‘submitting’ June, I’m still only on May.
Once I’ve done the exercise, I put the file away for a few days and come back to it fresh. Then I choose around 5 ideas to pursue for myself, and I discard the others. I hate for those ideas to go to waste, though, so I ‘throw’ them out there for others to take up if they wish.
Here, then, are a few ‘throwaway’ writing suggestions for May. I don’t think I’ll have time to do much with any of these, and those I think I might be able to rustle up have already been put to one side.
- 1 May every year is apparently International Dawn Chorus Day (evergreen)
- On 1 May 1873, 150 years ago, David Livingstone was found dead at Chitambo (topical)
- On 1 May 1873, 150 years ago, The first US posting card was issued (topical)
- 3 May every year is apparently International Gilbert & Sullivan Day (evergreen)
- 4 May every year is Star Wars Day (evergreen)
- On 4 May 1973, 50 years ago, the Sears Tower in Chicago was ‘topped out’ (topical)
- 8 May every year is apparently World Donkey Day (evergreen)
- On 9 May 1873, 150 years ago, Howard Carter was born in Swaffham, Norfolk (topical)
- 12 May every year is apparently International Nurses’ Day (evergreen)
- 13 May every year is apparently World Fair Trade Day (evergreen)
- 14 May this year is Mother’s Day in the US (date-specific evergreen)
- 15 – 19 May this year is Walk to School Week (date-specific evergreen)
- 17 May every year is the National Day of Norway (evergreen)
- On 19 May 1898, 125 years ago, William Gladstone died at Hawarden Castle, North Wales, aged 88 (topical)
- 23 May every year is apparently World Turtle Day (evergreen)
- 24 – 28 May this year is the Chelsea Flower Show (date-specific evergreen)
- 25 May every year is apparently World Otter Day (evergreen)
- 28 May this year is Whit Sunday (date-specific evergreen)
- 31 May every year is the National Day of South Africa (evergreen)
There you go, 19 more ideas to get you writing.
Take one idea
Still stuck for something to write? Even with all of those ideas? Okay then, let’s take just one of those ideas…
- 25 May every year is apparently World Otter Day (evergreen)
What can you write about World Otter Day? Well, you could write a short story that features an otter or several otters. You could choose a protagonist whose job is a wildlife preservation officer or a waterways officer. Or your story could feature a family or a group of friends on a boating holiday and they spot the otters. How about a child who finds an otter and wants to keep it as a pet?
If your short story gets too big for a short story, you could turn it into a novelette, a serial, a novella or a novel and time it to come out in time for World Otter Day next year or the year after. It is, after all, an evergreen.
So there are some fiction ideas. But what if you don’t write fiction? What if you’re a feature writer or a news reporter? There’s still that wildlife preservation officer or that waterways officer. Can you sort an interview with someone local who can tell you what they’re up to this year for World Otter Day?
Where can people go to see otters? How about a roundup of zoos or wildlife parks in your area?
Or how about an investigative feature on why we need to have a World Otter Day in the first place? Are otters a dying breed? Are they protected? Why are they protected? Why do we need that World Otter Day?
Is there somewhere near to you that has family fun days where kids can maybe see otters? The very savvy writer can make this one work more than once. For example, there is the news story leading up to the event. There’s the feature showcasing everyone involved in the event where you can interview up to three people perhaps – an organiser, a volunteer and a visitor… or someone who opposes the otters or the event? And then there’s the wrap-up afterwards. Three stories for the price of one idea.
Finally, is there a natural history topic you can work in? Such as the different types of otter? How many species are there? Which species can be found where? What do they eat? Where do they live? What do they need to do in order to survive? Do they live solitary lives or communal ones? Which otter is your favourite? A lot of people particularly love sea otters, for example.
The ideas are endless. Have a go at brainstorming further and see if there’s something you can do for World Otter Day this year. But if you sell anything, remember to hold onto your copyright so that you can sell reprints next year as well.
Over to you
If you use any of these ideas, then do let me know and tell me how they fared.
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