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Think of an Article

October 15th, 2014

question-blogWhat’s so great  about writing articles? Getting paid for them, right? Well … yes. But, let’s be honest, if finance was the sole incentive, most of us wouldn’t be writers at all, would we? I could probably make a better living as a plumber, though I wouldn’t be happy (and I’d still write in my spare time – it helps me think).

That’s why I like working on articles – they don’t take forever, and they’re great for thinking. Take this, for instance: in my other life as an itinerant singer/songwriter I play mainly old time Blues and, over the years, learning those songs, seeing those shows, reading those books, I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge. Now, we’ve all got something like that, haven’t we? Fishing, cooking, mid-nineteenth century Russian ballet … With me, it’s the Blues, so that’s where I start.

In the UK there are half a dozen specialist Blues magazines, and they’re dead easy to find online. Most of them have editors’ names and contact details on the websites, and you can even read stuff they’ve already published to see what kind of style, content and length of article they go for.

So, I’m half way there. All I need is an idea and, it being my field, I’ve already got one. Here it is: Back in 1995, while publicizing the novel ‘R.L.’s Dream,’ American writer Walter Mosley claimed that Mississippi’s Robert Johnson was the most influential musician the world had seen since J.S. Bach. Was he right? It’s quite a claim. Seems worth exploring.

Well, I love Walter Mosley’s writing. And I love Robert Johnson’s songs . But was he really that significant? If I’m going to approach an editor with a view to putting something out in print – I’d better find out. I’m going to have to do some research, maybe try chatting to a specialist … and there! That’s the great thing about writing articles. Why else would I actually do that research? And why else would any specialist agree to give me half an hour of their valuable time? They just wouldn’t.

Was Robert Johnson as important to the world as J.S. Bach? It doesn’t matter. But by the time I’ve researched and written my article, I’ll know. And, to me, that seems a great privilege – being able to put time into answering a question like that. I’ve quoted from Gustave Flaubert before, and here I’m reminded of another of his gems: “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” Now isn’t that a great reason for doing what we do?

Of course, with all that said, the money’s nice too.

Keep on writing!


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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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