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    Stretch Your Information for Several Columns

    Getting as much mileage out of your research as possible enables a writer to save time and come up with many ideas. In other words, utilize the information from your research and interviews for several articles.

    Columnists can do the same if they're writing several columns. Or they can spread their research over a number of columns. This helps you become a writer who doesn’t run out of information and ideas.

    I write columns about cooking, researching and writing family history, column writing, writing for children, antiques and collectibles, travel, state history and refunding. Some of these aren't interrelated at all; with others I can use the same basic information and approach it from different aspects for completely different columns and essays.

    Kitchenware and Memorabilia

    I recently wrote a column for my "Country Kitchen" series about the various cooking utensils and kitchen ware that have meaning in our lives. Since they involved cooking and meal preparation, the discussion led directly to recipes.

    Then I wrote a column for "Researching & Writing Your Family History" about the importance of kitchen and dining memorabilia for stimulating memories. Writing about these items will bring back memories surrounding the events involving them. This can serve as a spring board to other family research and writing.

    Next I mentioned some of these items in a column about collecting kitchen ware for "Curios of Yesteryear." I researched the cherry depression glass cake plate and wooden salad bowl of my childhood and included them in columns.

    History in Many Forms

    Family travels over the Oregon Trails resulted in several articles for my "Vagabond Traveler" travel column, recipe information for "Country Kitchen," ideas for a quilting column I was writing at that time for a magazine, and travel articles for newspapers. Wherever I travel or research, I'm always on the lookout for more information than I'll use in one column, information that I can write from a different slant for various columns and articles.

    I write a New Hampshire history column for a monthly publication. However, the research I do for these articles often yields cooking ideas for "Country Kitchen," information about collectibles and antiques for "Curios of Yesteryear," insights into historic sites for "Vagabond Traveler," and genealogy ideas for "Researching and Writing Your Family History."

    Maximize Your Research

    Maximize your research. If you only have one column, see if you can find ideas for more than one week in your data. If you write more than one column, look for information that will work for each one.

    I'm often asked how I can write so many different column series simultaneously. By looking for the various stories within my research, I find many ideas for columns, as well as for independent articles and tidbits for fiction stories.

    Look at what you're writing and researching. Then brainstorm and jot down as many ideas as possible from the information.

    Copyright © 2002 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen writes for children and adults...fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She also illustrates some of her writing and offers her art work as signed posters. To read some of her columns, visit her web site at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


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