Brainstorming Ideas-Freelance Writing Blueprint | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

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Brainstorming Ideas-Freelance Writing Blueprint

teacher avatar Susan Palmquist, Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson One-Brainstorming Session

    • 3. Lesson Two-Refining

    • 4. Lesson Three-Narrowing Down Your Idea

    • 5. Class Wrap Up and What's Next

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About This Class

In this fourth class in the yearlong Freelance Writing Blueprint you'll learn how to brainstorm ideas for possible topics to pitch to your target market. 

Once that's done you'll narrow it down and then refine it even more until you have the perfect topic ready to research and pitch.

These are standalone classes but are more beneficial if taken together.


Meet Your Teacher

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Susan Palmquist

Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru



I’m Susan Palmquist and for the last 20 years I’ve been an author, freelance writer, editor, blogger, teacher and tutor, (and before that I was a publicist).

It feels like I’ve squeezed a lot into two decades and it’s my tips and experience that I’ve learned along the way that I’m now happy to share with you here at Skillshare.

I’d like to show you how you too can write for fun or even for a living whether it be fiction or non-fiction.

Getting published wasn’t easy for me but I’m now the author, (under my own name and pen name Vanessa Devereaux), of 100 plus books and counting. There’s nothing I love more than helping others do the same thing.

I have my own coaching and critiquing business... See full profile

Related Skills

Writing Creative

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to the freelance writing Blueprint Class. My name, Sudan Palmquist. And I'm on author and freelance writer and also an instructor here at skill share. And this is part of my yearlong class on how to become a freelance writer even without any prior experience. And I myself did the same thing about 20 years ago, launched a freelance career without any experience without a portfolio, and I thought, I'd like to share that knowledge on all the tips I've learned along the way with you. This is the fourth class in this year long journey that were on. You don't need to take a lot of the classes, but I highly recommend that you follow along, so it kind of makes more sense and you'll get a feel for all the way the elements fit together on de so far. If you haven't already taken the classes in January, February March, I'll just go over what we've covered so far. The pros and cons of freelancing building your portfolio, studying potential market. So we've covered quite a lot on it, said. I highly recommend that you if you haven't taken the classes that you go back and take a look at them. But this one will focus on brainstorming ideas and finding the perfect topic to pitch to your Children. Market on DA That's get started in less and one on I'll see you then. 2. Lesson One-Brainstorming Session: hello and welcome to Lesson one, And I've titled this one getting started cause that's basically what this one is all about . On First of all, I want you to open a word document or if you prefer just a scrap of paper. Sometimes I just use a notebook. Teoh kind of jump marred that this down on something that I could refer back to Andi set the clock for about five minutes. You can do this longer or shorter, but I usually find five minutes is is kind of the best time. You get lots of ideas going. You feel like that there's a deadline, so whatever works for you. But try five minutes to start with and kind of adjust from there. And I want you to think of your chosen publication. If you took the march class, you know that we went through hell to narrow down what kind of publication you want to write for and who your ideal audience would be. A. So with that in mind, I want you to write down a Zeman e topics as you can think off that you'd like to pitch to this chosen publication, and I'm going to go through an example of how you do that. Now I've picked a budget magazine. I used to write a lot for kind of budget orientated magazine, so I thought that would be a good thing to show you the process that I used to use on. I had in mind that the their audience was maybe people in the 35 to 55 year old age range, and maybe they were saving to buy their first home or they love to travel. And they were saving for, you know, around the trip world trip, or even that they were saving for retirement, putting away a nest egg. Or maybe they were even thinking about taking early retirement. And we're looking for ways to kind of cut costs that they could put more money into their savings account. So these are some of the examples that if it was a budget orientated magazine that you might come up with, like how to buy designer dresses for less eating gourmet foods at everyday prices, on how to vacation like a celebrity, how to save for retirement, that kind of fits in with what I have kind of mentioned that the target audience might be on another one that you could think about would be decorate your bedroom $400. Now, you in the five minutes should probably come up with a lot more, but I've kind of narrowed it down for the sake of this class. So we don't go on with a long list. But these air kind of guidelines that the topics that you want to come up with, depending on what your target audiences and what your publications. So in the next lesson, we're going to refine one of these ideas even more when I show you how we do that and I'll see you then. 3. Lesson Two-Refining: hello and welcome back to lesson to, and this one is all about narrowing down your topic. And in fact, this is going to be your class project. Once you have one idea picked out, you're going to narrow down that topic, even Mawr, and pick one from that. And that's where uh, we'll start on pick up in Mace class to So it's all described in the class project. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask me if you're running into any difficulties about narrowing down the topic on before we do that. I want to tell you why we need to debt narrow down the topic even more from the previous lesson on one of the biggest mistakes new freelance writers make is they pitch what I call too broadly, and it's also a problem that short story writers does. But, um, so you're going to write an article for 1000 words. If your subject matter is so broad, you'll never be up to fit it in 1000 words. And if you do, you'll probably go off on tangents, which is the biggest known of for an editor on their audience, and it also shouts to the editor that your, uh, kind of a beginning freelance writer and and that kind of turned some of them off because they don't think that you have the skill set to write a good article for their audience. And it probably I would think, even from the beginning, it's you're going to get rejected because they know that a professional writer always narrows the topic down, so it's very, very refined, and they can kin on one thing. So that's why I want you to get into the habit of trying to narrow down a topic to its I would call its lowest denominator. So I've picked from the previous lesson. Remember, we went through a list for the Budget magazine and I pulled out how to save for retirement because I think it would be a great topic. So I want you to do the go through the same process you did for the last lesson and open a word dark. Take a sheet of paper, notebook or whatever spent five minutes writing down topics that full under the title of Like How to Save for retirement. Yours obviously be different because your king and on your ideal market, but this is what I came up with for how to save for retirement. You might write an article about high interest bearing accounts, ones that you know, bring UME or compound interest, have to save $100 for every paycheck. Five. Easy ways to fund your nest egg moonlighting jobs that help you pat your retirement fund on . I will give you a little kind of tip here with the five easy ways to fund your nest egg for some reason. And I don't know why, but editors and even audiences, I think I enjoy them, too. So that's probably where the connection comes in. We like kind of lists of things and five easy ways. For some reason, I've always had great luck pitching that title. Five. You know, easy ways, five ways to do something to editors because they know that we, as audience kind of love listen and easy things to read ET ways that we can incorporate ideas into our lives. So that's one tip. Always, if you're in doubt, always go for a list of five or 10 or whatever, and it really pulls the editor in on. They know that will pull the Orient into. So there's some ideas that I've pulled from how to save for retirement. Onda. Uh, in the next lesson, we're gonna narrow it down even more yet I know this seems like a lot of work, but believe me, it'll save time, and your acceptance rate for a pitch is going to be so much high. So stay with May and I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. Lesson Three-Narrowing Down Your Idea: hello and welcome back, and now we're going to narrow it down some more. And I know this seems like it's an awful lot of work just to come up with one topic. But I want to get you into the habit of doing this so it becomes second nature every time you want to pitch an idea to an editor on. I think it will make you stand out from the crowd, especially when you are a beginner. You'll look like your professional. You'll look like you know what you're doing. And like I said, I think that your success rate will be much higher. I'm not guarantee that you'll sell everything that you write or you'll get the go ahead for every idea you pitch. But I think your success rate will be hard and than other people who aren't following along with kind of the rules that I learned purely sometimes by pure mistake, because I didn't I didn't know what I was doing, so that's why I like to share my knowledge of kind of what you know, the stumbling blocks I had and save you the trouble of going through the learning curve that I had on De, So we're gonna narrow down the up the topics from the previous lesson. One idea I came up with was five Moonlighting Jobs to help pad your retirement fund on the reason I did that, and it kind of goes back to the editors and their readers loving lists and specific numbers . I felt five Moonlighting jobs kind of would get on editor's attention, and he or she would probably think, Hey, that will get my readers attention. So it fits in with the, you know, everything that would discuss so far. And I think it would be a nisi enough, um, article to put together really quick on bond, especially when you're starting out. You don't want a really complicated topic, but I will adhere. Don't worry if you don't know anything about this topic. This was one thing that I didn't know. When I started out, I felt I have to know something about what I'm going to write about. Or, you know, I'm gonna look in India or I'm gonna not know what to write in my article. And I used to see all these other freelance writers writing on topics like sleep disorders diet like I'm gonna run out of topics because, you know, none of us are experts on everything on. Then I joined a freelance group and they told me, No, don't worry about that. You get you know, you experts toe interview, so we'll be going over that in future lessons and I'll be telling you how to connect with those experts. But for now, don't worry. If you think of a topic that you know nothing about, that is not a problem. So now we're left with the five moonlighting jobs, and you will be I'll be showing you how you'll work with the research and expert in upcoming lessons. But for now, just kind of make notes on what you think you would like to include in your given topic like this one. Moonlighting jobs. I might think that one of them would be something like, So you're a pet owner. You love walking dogs. You might start a pet sitting business dog walking business, just things like that. So this will be your class, Project said. I know it's kind of a lot of working, narrowing, narrowing it down, but I think you will you will see the benefits in the end. And ah, that's about it for the lessons. But I would like to wrap things up in the next video, so I'll see you then. 5. Class Wrap Up and What's Next: Hello. Welcome back. And this is the wrap up video on DA. I just thought I'd give you a preview or what next month's topical be? It's putting together the perfect pitch letter. I like to think of it as ourselves like this, So I hope you'll come back for that one on. Duh, please. If you have any questions about the class project or even if you're not doing the class project and you're thinking about pitching an idea if you have any questions or you know about any topic with freelance writing, I'm always here for you. I love helping fellow writers out aspiring writers. I love to see people be successful in their chosen careers and follow their dreams. So, um, just leave a comment or, you know, ask away that. I always say, this is one thing I tell my students there is absolutely no such thing. It's a silly question. So don't think, you know people are gonna laugh of what you ask. They really don't is. We're all rural beginnings at some point in our careers. So ask away. I'm one thing I did want to say is, um be sure to hit the follow button. I you know, I wasn't aware that even if you take the class, you don't automatically follow along and get notices off future classes or other classes that I'm putting together. So if you want updates on classes, I will be adding a lot, lot more to skill share. So be sure to hit the follow button and you'll get notification when I do at new class, especially if you are following along with one of the year long ones on. I just wanted to say that last week, skill share honored me with one of the, uh, you know, teachers toe watch. So I feel very, very honored to be one of those. And I think I most of that is down to you guys, the students following and taking my classes. So Ah, big. Thank you for that on. Thank you so much for taking this class and following along on def. You've been with me since January and the freelance writing blueprint then thank you very much. And I hope you know you're doing well in your, uh, pursuit of a freelance career. And like I said, if you have any questions, I'm here for you. So also you in my onda take care and happy writing to you