Tricking Your Mind: A Homespun Solution to Revive and Focus Your Freelance Writing Career

08/09/2016 12:06 pm ET Updated Aug 09, 2016
Public Domain: Mae West quote pickled by Yours Truly

Have you ever noticed how many pickles you have in your fridge? And the variety—staggering. I’ll bet you think they’re just ordinary pickles. They are.

But you’re no ordinary person. You’re a writer who thinks you have run out of ideas. And everyone is shouting specialize, specialize. There’s a good reason for that and those pickles are going to help.

However, if you’re not into pickles, you could try this with your shoe collection or your tie collection (more on that later).

Freelance writers getting jumbled up between niches and topics to write about may be ignoring a useful trick that’s right under your nose.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. – Dr. Suess


So why do I bring up the languishing pickles in our house? Because it relates to what you have stored in your head...the multitude of connections your mind is making at this very minute. There is untapped potential you could tie into.

The jars are shoved towards the back of the fridge and when we are at the store picking up hamburger buns we throw another jar of pickles into our cart because we’re not sure we’ve got any.

Blog ideas are a little that way. They are floating all over the web, some staring us right in the face and others needing a little digging in to find, cut up, put into a sandwich with your other ideas, and voila, you have another great blog.

You want to focus on the idea that gets you a viral readership and makes you valuable to the site you write for—every time.

And how can you know what are the best ideas? Well, let’s look at all ideas as pickles for now. You already have an arsenal in your midst.

There are Sweet Pickles, Sour Pickles, Dill Pickles, Whole Pickles, Sliced Pickles (the long way), and Pickle Chips (some even have the nifty serrated edge). What to do with them? 

You guessed it: Brainstorm. In my case, I turned these pickles into niches. There are a lot of writers out there today, and specializing is a good way to help businesses easily locate you in the vast sea that is the internet.


Converting What’s Under Your Nose into Gold 

So, here’s my list:

1. Sweet Pickles = Education. I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years, and have read and written a plethora of words about teaching, management, and student success. 

2. Sour Pickles = Family. My husband and I enjoy a blended family of nine children who are producing grandchildren—by the way, some of them are pickles. It’s great most of the time. I enjoy the sweet and the sour. 

3. Dill Pickles = Hobbies. I really like dill, so this area includes photography, reading, walking my dog—you name it.

You’re either becoming nauseated or you are getting the idea. (Thank goodness pickles aren’t our sole diet.)


Take out Those Fermenting Ideas and Make Something of Them 

And here is the Pickle of the Day:

4. Pickle Chips = Writing

What are the pickle chips doing in the ‘center of the earth’ of my fridge while I spend time online scouring for topics to write about? Fermenting, I suppose. And to be fair, ideas need time to do that.

But maybe today, instead of surfing the web for ideas, you will find that the best ones are the ideas you already have. I’ve pulled out the Pickle Chips. 

In order of popularity—in my fridge—is Writing, Family, Hobbies, and Education (I don’t go in for sweet pickles, but it’s been my bread and butter for most of my life). 

If pickles don’t inspire you, here’s an example using the ridiculous amount of shoes in your closet as the spark for creativity:

1. Tennis Shoes = Sports 

2. Stilettos = Fashion

3. Flats = Leisure 

You get the idea.

See if that helps you organize your ideas around niches and gets you writing.

Go out there and get ‘em, writers. The world is waiting for you. 

You can have your pickle and eat it too; kind of a waste to leave them there languishing.

P.S. Apologies to Mae West for bastardizing her quote; I couldn’t resist.


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