The Answer Is 42

The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42. It says so in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe.

Its also the number I used to determine the viablility of writing a series of travel articles about Bainbridge Island. In other words are there forty-two unique things that would interest tourists? Bainbridge Island is a nice side trip from Seattle, especially during the summer, and the shops along Winslow Way, while fun and interesting, are only a small part of the overall Island experience.

Forty-two 1,000 articles with pictures would give me enough content for about ten months with four articles a month, more or less. While I’m still working on the list, the Island does have walking trails, a wide assortment of parks, opportunities to bike around the island, wine tasting experiences and the list goes on.

When I get my list in order I will have a fairly clear idea of the short and long-term potential of the project. I will have enough material for ten months of blog posts as well as material for a book when the posts are rewritten.

Now, what if there aren’t forty-two places of interest, then what? Bainbridge has a rich history, so articles about the island can be added, pieces written by long-time residents, spotlight pieces about local businesses that have a regional or international reach.

As I look at the possibilities I see that I have more than enough potential material for not only 42 weekly travel pieces, but a lot more.

As I sit here brainstorming, my next step will be to organize the list strategically to organize my time and creative effort. Each of the articles will need about a day to research, plan, get pictures and background material. Writing will take about three hours and then I have to take the time to edit and polish the piece. In all about ten hours, on average, for each article. (If I were to pay for all this effort I would shell out around $1,800 per article, but since I know the author and he works cheap. …Well, you get the idea.)

I own the blog the articles will appear on, so convincing the managing editor to publish them won’t be a problem either.

Here’s a challenge. Where do you live? No matter how small the town, there is something of interest just outside your doors. Are there at least forty-two possible articles outside your door? If you can find forty-two ideas can you find ten, twenty, thirty more?

Let’s take it a little further. One of the places I want to visit this summer is the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Before I even book my room and buy my tickets, I’m going to test my skills by finding forty-two things to write about. Can you do the same for someplace you want to visit?

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