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Christmas Is Coming

May 11th, 2015

xmas-tree-BlogI’m branching out. As well as blogs, songs and stories, I’m going to start writing articles. I know I can do it, and I certainly need the money. So I’m getting organised – ready to work.

First job is setting up my own editorial calendar. And how do you do that? Well, scooting around the internet I found a great series of ‘How To’ articles at Lorelle on WordPress. They’re aimed mainly at bloggers, but I’ve found their tips useful for all sorts of writing jobs. Amongst other things, they pointed me toward a website called timeanddate.com where I’ve customized a calendar covering the whole of the next eighteen months. Telling it where I live, it’s included all my local state and religious holidays, so I now have everything from Pancake Day to Diwali on a massive one page per month wall-hanging that’s going to be the foundation of my article writing campaign.

Now, being a fairly competent blues guitarist, I want to start off writing for UK based blues magazines. There aren’t many of them, and they’re all monthly or bi-monthly. So knowing their copy deadlines will be two or three months before publication, I’ll be pitching ideas to editors six or seven months in advance. And looking at my brand new, whole-wall calendar, what’s the one big, obvious event coming up six or seven months from now? Christmas, of course.

Hhhmm … Christmas and the Blues – not the most obvious bedfellows. But if I can drum up three ideas, I must be in with a chance. So how about these?

1. Gifts For Blues Fans. There’s loads of stuff out there – classic albums, books, DVDs, T-shirts … what’ll be on your Christmas list?

2. A profile of Blind Lemon Jefferson. This guy was a massive blues star back in the early twentieth century. He died in a snowstorm in Chicago on December 19, 1929, but his music lives on in recordings of fabulous songs like Black Snake Moan and See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.

3. The Christmas Blues Playlist. Had enough of Jingle Bells? Well, why not try Victoria Spivey’s 1926 Christmas Morning Blues, Freddie King’s Christmas Tears, or even Jimmy Witherspoon’s How I Hate To See Xmas Come Around?  Yuletide spirit doesn’t do it for everyone, and if you want to be grumpy at Christmas, these could be the songs for you.

So, there y’go – I’m up and running. And once my calendar’s bedded in I can start adding blues-specific dates like Robert Johnson’s birthday, the release of the Rolling Stones’ first album, major festivals, next year’s big tours … I can even transfer all that information onto a Google Calendar and carry it around on my smartphone. – events and anniversaries; publication dates; copy deadlines; pitching deadlines; research and writing deadlines, all in my pocket, wherever I go … FANTASTIC. You can’t beat a good plan.

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig

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