Want to jump-start your creative energies and increase your chances of having queries accepted by newspapers and magazines? Engage in some creative trend-spotting and beat other writers to the punch. I have had several queries accepted by editors who appreciated my proposing topic or topic angles that are new and different. Back in the 1990s, I did a piece about the negative stereotypes about female bodybuilders before it became prevalent in the media. A few years ago, I sold a piece about women in the trades to a national magazine before we were inundated with articles on this very subject.

Here’s how I do it. I pay attention to what’s happening in my own life and in the lives of those around me. If I hear of or experience something that is “new” to me, I figure it’s probably new to other people too. And you know how that weird universe thing happens, where you hear of something for the first time, and then hear about it again within a few days? When that happens, you’re probably on to a topic that bears some research and a query. It’s the trend-spotters who stay ahead of the game, whether it be in writing or marketing any product or service. The message is, PAY ATTENTION!