Hobbies make good writing topics


Story and art
by Mo Conlan

You know more than you think – and it could pay off. Most of us have hobbies or pastimes. If you’ve done something long enough, you’ve acquired expertise, and expertise is worth money.

Fishing, cooking, organic gardening, teaching English as a second language, quilting, keeping a pack of toddlers entertained. Packing up household and moving five times in five years.

You can write about your passion/expertise and – with a little upfront work – receive pay for your efforts. Perhaps, not lottery-winnings pay, but a check.

(A Green Doll named Julia, above.
(This doll has been sold.)

In addition to writing, for example, I also make art. Occasionally, my art has fallen out of the strictly hobby category, because I’ve sold a few things here and there. (I am in the process of cataloging my art, with the idea of having a real go at selling it.)

One of my favorite arts/crafts projects is making “Green Dolls.” I’ll tell you how I do it and this will provide an example of how you might write about your hobby.

I call my dolls “Green” because I use recycled glass and plastic bottles for their bodies and other recyclables, such as washed and rinsed coffee and tea filters, for costumes and details. These dolls fall more into the “art” venue than toys.

One of my dolls, Julia, above, is an artist. I made her red hair from the mesh bags that oranges come in. I fashioned a painter’s smock from a grocery store paper bag – taken apart and smoothed out. I used parts of the paper bag to glue on pockets. And I put different colored papers and a tiny paintbrush in one.

Each doll I make is different. In addition to using papers and recycled items, I also use fabric remnants, wooden shapes and bling and glue that I buy at hobby shops.

Take a look at your own hobbies and expertise and see how you might write about them. Do you want it to be strictly a how-to, or something heartwarming, such as the first time you took your grandson fishing?

If it is a how-to, give the reader a bulleted list of all supplies needed. Be sure to tell the most important thing you want to say right up front and go from there. Simple language is best. Just tell the story of what you know how to do.

Write a practice article, put it away for a day or two, take it out and polish it up. Don’t get stuck on perfectionism, but have a friend read it to make sure you didn’t leave anything out.

Go to the library or a large bookstore and look at all the magazines that might be interested in your expertise. Look in the masthead – where editors, etc., are listed – and find out how to submit an article.

You can also peruse "Writers Digest" – an annual tome with information for writers about where and how to sell their writing.

One of the best places to find a home for an article is in your local weekly newspaper. Such papers always need new stories. If your hobby is quite interesting and you present it well, you might even find yourself with a weekly column.

There also are numerous online sites where you might place your article. (You may or my not receive payment.)

After Hobbies, read about another "Green" doll, named Deidre.

A doll named Ebonmarie hears from her grandmother.

Candace loves pretty clothes.

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Making a Green Doll
What you need

Plum is formed from a plastic container of cleansing cloths.The lid becomes her head/face

Here are some items you may need to make a doll.
• Glass or plastic bottle, large or small. Syrup bottles make cute dolls.
• A variety of papers or fabric remnants.
• Glue, brads, etc.
• Pipe cleaners make nice arms.
• Wood sticks and shapes.
• Bling – hobby store jewels, glitter glue, etc. Bling is good for making eyes and mouth.
• Then you just experiment and have fun.

Doll named Plum, below.