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    Home Columns

    Writing a Craft or Hobby Column

    Column writing takes many forms and covers numerous topics. The range is almost limitless. As you make note of your areas of interest and expertise, perhaps you'll find a column idea lurking there.

    For many years I operated a quiltmaking business from my home, providing quilts and patchwork items for individual customers and to shops. My mail orders arrived from all over the country.

    Finally I thought, "Why not combine my quiltmaking interests with my love of writing? Why not propose a quiltmaking column?"

    I'd written several articles on the history of the craft for newspapers and magazines. So I wondered how I could approach quiltmaking in the form of an ongoing column for a quilting magazine?

    Study the Publications

    I studied various magazines to see what gap I might fill and came up with a column on the business side of quiltmaking. There seemed to be nothing in quilt magazines on this topic at that time either.

    My "Business of Patchwork" ran for eight years in one quilting magazine. When that magazine changed publishers and was no longer interested in my column, I approached another publication. Next I wrote "Work Patch" for another quilting magazine for two years.

    Finding Ideas for Craft and Hobby Columns

    Take a look at your interests and abilities. Find a slant that is somewhat different or is missing in a particular publication. Check out magazines and newspapers, and nowadays the Internet.

    Make a list of your interests...those you feel confident researching and writing about. Look through other publications to see what type of craft and hobby columns are featured. Then see what you can offer.

    These columns on crafts and hobbies could be how-to with a different project for each column, interviews of people involved in this particular venture, places where related events are taking place, the business aspect of a craft, or a miscellany of information regarding the topic.

    My New Column

    I've begun writing a new column on scrapbooking for an online publication. This is one of the fastest growing hobbies and one for which I teach classes. Why not share my knowledge by writing a column? This also might become a column I'll propose to a print newspaper.

    Scrapbooking also overlaps other paper crafts like collages and altered books so it can encompass a variety of topics when presented in a column format.

    Collect Into a Book

    As you write these craft and hobby columns, you may find yourself gathering enough material to publish a book. Or you can develop booklets simply by expanding the topic of each column.

    This opens up an expanded world of writing and teaching.

    Workshops and Classes As you become more knowledgeable about your topic and feel confident about teaching workshops, this is another area that you can branch into. I taught workshops on quiltmaking and quilt history. When I began writing the "Business of Patchwork" column, I was invited to teach workshops on this topic at quilt shows.

    My interest in scrapbooking is evolving into classes on this topic, as well as those in which I combine scrapbooking with "Writing Your Family Story."

    Give your imagination free reign and brainstorm about the various ways you can write about your hobbies.

    Copyright © 2003 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen writes for children and adults, fiction and non-fiction. Her columns on many different topics appear in print and online publications. She also offers classes on Column Writing. She also has published a book on quilts and quilt history, "The Magic of Patchwork." Visit her Web site at Her e-mail:

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

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