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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