The Word for Writers
Writing Fillers for Fun and Profit
by Rebecca Livermore
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After many years of squelching the gift of writing within me, I decided to give it a try. I figured a good place to start was a Christian magazine I read regularly. As I picked it up, flipped through it, and read the bios of the various authors, I became disheartened. It seemed that in order to write for that magazine you had to lead some big ministry, be the author of numerous books, and have some type advanced theological training. Unfortunately, the only thing I possessed was the ability to write and a heart for ministry. Apparently that wasn’t enough.
I was about to give up in despair when close to the end of the magazine I found a section of short articles. In the middle of that section were the words all writers long to hear: “GET PUBLISHED!” They were looking for short, practical articles on a variety of subjects. Since the articles were short (less than 400 words), no query letter was required. Good thing, since all good query letters include the writer’s qualifications to write the article, and I was decidedly unqualified in a traditional sense.
I immediately sat down, wrote an article, said a quick prayer, and promptly dropped the article in the mail, along with the required SASE. Then, not knowing what else to do, I waited.
About six weeks later, with trembling hands, I opened that familiar-looking SASE, only to find that my article had been rejected. Thankfully, before I could become too depressed, I read words that only fueled my desire to write. The letter stated, “Due to the fact that we recently purchased an article on the same subject, we cannot accept your article. However, you certainly have the right feel for our magazine. Please let us hear from you again!” They didn’t have to tell me twice! I immediately sat down, wrote another article, and mailed it.
Again, I waited. Four weeks later, I once again found an SASE in my mail, this time, with a publication contract rather than a reject letter! And so began my love affair with writing short articles, bits of advice, quizzes, etc. known as “fillers.”
In almost any magazine you pick up, you’ll find fillers. They may be short articles, practical bits of advice, jokes, quizzes, recipes, or cartoons. One thing they all have in common is that they are short.
Although fillers may not be the most prestigious thing to write, they are worth considering for the following reasons.
1. Publication opportunities abound for filler writers.
2. The odds of acceptance, especially for newer writers, are much higher than they are for full-length articles.
3. They seldom require time-consuming research, and since they are so short, often result in high payment for the comparatively short amount of time they take to write.
4. They help you learn how to write tight, since you have no room to waste words. Writing tight is a skill that is usefully in other types of writing as well. You may as well develop that skill by writing fillers!
5. They open the door to “bigger and better” things. Writing fillers helped build up my list of publishing credits, connected me with other writers and editors, and got my foot in the door with more than one magazine.
6. They can provide consistent income while you are working on longer pieces.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you successfully write fillers.
1. Find as many magazines as you can that accept fillers. The best way to be consistently published is to submit as many fillers as possible. You can only submit so many fillers to one magazine, so diversify as much as possible.
2. Study the fillers in the magazines you want to submit to. Notice the style, common themes, etc. Slant your fillers to the magazine you plan to submit to.
3. Read the writer’s guidelines if available, and follow them to the letter. For instance, if they say the word limit is 250 words, don’t think you can get away with writing 350 words.
4. As soon as you submit one filler, start working on another one. This helps pass the time while you’re waiting to hear back on the first one, and helps soften the blow if your first one is rejected.
5. If a filler you write is rejected by one magazine, look through your list of magazines that accept fillers to see if perhaps you can submit it somewhere else. You may need to tweak it a bit to get it to work well for a different magazine, but that can be easier than starting from scratch.
6. Don’t limit yourself to Christian magazines. Other interests such as parenting, gardening, household management, or any number of hobbies provide good experience and material for fillers that aren’t specifically Christian.
Below is a partial list of magazines that accept fillers. Some of the magazines listed below do not have writer’s guidelines on the website. Those magazines may require a bit of digging for you to find information on how to write for them.
Have fun as you delve into the fun and profitable world of filler writing!
www.missionsalive.org (I did not see writer’s guidelines on this site.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, word puzzles, cartoons, quizzes, short humor.
www.alivenow.org (There is a link for writers at the top of the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Short articles, 300 – 500 words.
Pay: $50 and up
ANGELS ON EARTH
www.angelsonearth.com (A link for writer’s guidelines is on the homepage, on the bottom left.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, 50 – 250 words.
Pay: $50 - $100
www.cog7.org/BA (A link for writer’s guidelines is on the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Poetry, facts, prose, quotes.
www.all.org (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: 75-200 words with a pro life slant.
CHARISMA & CHRISTIAN LIFE
www.charismamag.com (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Book and music reviews, 200 words.
Pay: $25 - $35
CHRISTIAN HOME & SCHOOL
www.CSIonline.org (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Parenting ideas, 100 – 250 words.
Pay -- $25 - $40
THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
www.brainerd.net/~hapco2 (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, facts, quotes, 150 words.
Pay: $5 - $20
CITY LIGHT NEWS
www.calgarychristian.com (Click on “Contact” to find info for writers.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, cartoons, jokes, short humor, newsbreaks.
Pay: $30 - $50
www.discipleshipjournal.com (There is a link for writer’s guidelines on the homepage. There are two separate sets of guidelines. Choose the DJ Plus option for the short articles.)
Types of fillers: DJ Plus articles on missions, evangelism, serving, discipling, teaching, and small groups, up to 400 words.
Pay: .25 per word
www.disciplesworld.com (There is a link for writer’s guidelines on the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, short humor, quotes, cartoons, up to 200 words
Pay: $10 - $50
ECLECTIC HOMESCHOOLING ONLINE
www.eho.org (I didn’t see writers guidelines on this site, but under the contact link, there is a specific contact for articles.)
Types of fillers: Various columns and departments, all 350 words.
FAITH AND FRIENDS
www.salvationist.ca (Click on the “Magazines” link for guidelines.)
Types of fillers: Recipes, quotes, games, jokes, cartoons, 50 words.
www.cggc.org (Click on the “Communications” link for guidelines.)
Types of fillers: Various types, 25 – 100 words.
Pay: $5 - $15
www.indianlife.org (I did not see writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Quotes and short humor, 50 – 200 words.
Pay: $10 – 25
www.leadershipjournal.net (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Ideas That Work, To Illustrate (sermon illustrations), short humor, cartoons, up to 150 words.
Pay: $25 - 50
www.radiantlife.org (I did not see a link for writer’s guidelines on the website.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, prose (200 – 700 words).
Pay: .10 per word, or .07 per word for reprints
www.churchoutreach.com (There is a link for writer’s guidelines on home page.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes and short humor, 100 – 200 words.
Pay: $20 - $25
Email: email@example.com (Guidelines available by email.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, cartoons, word puzzles, up to 50 words.
Pay: $15 – 40.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Guidelines available by email.)
Types of fillers: Anecdotes up to 300 words, cartoons, jokes, prayers and word puzzles, up to 30 words.
Pay: $5 – 25
http://nowwhat.cog7.org (The website has a link for writers, but the only info is for full-length stories. A contact email is available.)
Types of fillers: Quotes, prose, anecdotes, facts, 50 – 100 words.
www.praymag.com (There is a link for writer’s guidelines on the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Ideas on prayer, 150 – 500 words.
Types of fillers: Anecdotes, short humor, cartoons, 300 – 600 words.
Pay: up to .05 per word
www.standardpub.com (Click on “Information Desk” on the homepage for writer’s guidelines.)
Types of fillers: Short humor, jokes, and ideas.
Types of fillers: Word puzzles.
TODAY’S PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL
www.pe.ag.org (There is a link for writer’s guidelines at the bottom of the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Devotions, seasonal, current issues, Christian living, how-to articles, 50 – 200 words.
www.vibrantlife.com (There is a link for writer’s guidelines at the top of the homepage.)
Types of fillers: Facts and quizzes, 50 – 500 words.
Pay: $25 – 100
Types of fillers: Inspirational anecdotes, 200 – 500 words.
Pay: .15 - .20 per word
THE WAY OF ST. FRANCIS
Types of fillers: Prayers, prose, anecdotes, facts, cartoons, up to 100 words.
Pay: $25 – 50
© 2006 by Rebecca Livermore, a Christian speaker and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her passion is helping people grow spiritually. To read more of her articles on Christian living, and to check out her always growing selection of Christian resource materials, visit http://www.rebeccalivermore.com .
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Thank you so much for your very helpful,informative article. As a new writer, I have several pieces of work that I can submit as fillers. Thank you for listing the magazines that accept filers, as well. I can hardly wait to start tackling the list. May God continue to use you to inspire both new and more experienced writers.
Like the other Elizabeth who posted a comment, I too have been afraid. After reading your article, I think I'll try it out also. Thanks for the encouragement.
Okay, you've inspired me. Everyone tells me I need to take the next step and actually send something-anything-OUT THERE, but I have been afraid to. Still, I think I might start here. So here's a GREAT BIG THANKS for your article. Beth
Hi Rebecca, Thanks for giving us this tip. It's such a great idea to share what we have discovered to others. The blessings will come from God and the thanks and good will from others who will benefit. God bless
Nicely informative. I think I will give this "filler' thing a try. Thanks