By Gail Miller
This may sound a very curious title, but you would be surprised at the number of openings available for those wanting to write about problems they have encountered in their lives. Let me illustrate my point by telling you about what happened to me when I started writing about my 'problems'.
My son has had severe behavioral problems since being very young. He was hyperactive in the womb and as soon as he got to his feet he turned into a tiny tornado! Years went by and I had many, many problems with him. (Still do). School caused him major difficulties and the severity and the range of his challenging behavior brought me to the verge of a nervous breakdown.
3 years ago, (after consulting with NUMEROUS health, psychiatric and psychology professionals over a 7 year period!) he was diagnosed officially with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The symptoms of this neurological condition are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness along with other complex symptoms and knock on effects. Recently he has had a further diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, part of the autistic spectrum disorders.
Because of the battle I have had throughout his life to get appropriate help for him, I decided to write a sort of diary of events, from when I first contacting the Health Visitor, right through to the present. After I showed it to people to illustrate how my son had 'slipped through the net' all these years I was encouraged to pad it out into an autobiography.
Not thinking anyone would be interested in our story I hummed and ahhed, but eventually to keep my long suffering husband and father quiet, who had started nagging me incessantly to 'write a book' I started to flesh the account out into the story of our fight with the authorities to get my son's problems recognized and treated. It was very hard work and writing everything out made me go through the trauma again, but in the end, yes, it was an interesting story, especially as so many other families are going through the same experiences we had gone through.
To cut a long story short and admittedly, after many rejections, I finally found a publisher who wanted the book and in September 1998 it was published. It is entitled "Wild Child" and I am VERY proud of it!
The point is, the whole story is based on a problem or set of problems) which have profoundly affected my life. Since my book was published I have had further articles published on the subject of ADHD, one a 4 page spread in the leading British welfare magazines and since 1995 I have written a bi monthly newsletter on special needs which is subscribed to by many schools, professionals and to mention parents of other sufferers. I have recently gone on line with another ADHD newsletter; The ADD / ADHD Gazette.
After Wild Child was published a British national tabloid weekly, picked up my story and wrote a piece on me. In this case the feature was written in house by the newspaper, but I was consulted throughout, and nothing was printed without my consent. A few weeks later I received a handsome cheque through the post which came in very nicely thank you.
There are many other problems in life we all experience; relationship problems, grief at the loss of a loved one, financial problems, etc. and there are many publications that will snap articles of this nature up!
The following articles were published recently in one women's weekly magazine;
What it's like to be ... mugged ... burgled ... raped! Here three readers tell their stories.
Give us your winnings, skinflint
An ex wife tries to get more money for her kids from her lottery winning ex husband
Another magazine had articles entitled:-
My fight to give Mark a loving home
A woman's battle to adopt a son with learning difficulties,
How can we get out of this debt? The true account of a couple's battle for financial survival.
Although these are full length articles there are many other openings for you to write about problems. Apart from readers' letters pages which often have moving letters from the heart, some magazines actually solicit stories from readers. Most times the stories are written in house, but there is nothing to stop a competent writer submitting their story in their own words.
If you don't feel ready for 'the big time' just yet, some magazines have regular short features where readers are asked to submit stories of difficulties they have encountered and overcome of about 250 - 500 words.
These are good places to start with writing about problems. Other magazines have NUMEROUS regular *short*, shorts which are well worth while aiming at. Columns such as:-
My operation Readers Reality I love him but .... Have you battled against an illness or health problem?
I found these openings by having a very quick browse through half a dozen magazines on my pile. By researching properly, you will find many, many more markets just waiting to be tapped by writing about your problems.
Gail Miller is a freelance internet and business writer and author of Wild Child - A Mother, A Son and ADHD. She also writes and publishes two British on line newsletters; The ADD / ADHD Gazette - ADDGazetteemail@example.com and AFFILIATES UK - firstname.lastname@example.org