>What’s bugging you most?

>Sometimes when I’m trolling for ideas, I start writing about whatever’s bothering me in my life and discover I have lots of article possibilities to work with. My most recent list mostly concerned dogs, specifically Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which it turns out are considered in the same class as pit bulls. I did not know that when we purchased our cute puppies last year. I also did not know that in some areas, it’s illegal to own these dogs. Mine are half Staffie and half lab, so they’re just as strong and twice as big as pit bulls.

As I researched purely for my own information, lots of questions came up, and those questions became article ideas. For example: How can you be sure what kind of dog you’re getting if you don’t buy from a breeder? Are these dogs safe? Are they legal? Are they too much for seniors or families with children or families with other pets? Are they trainable? How do you keep them from eating the furniture? I know someone who used her pit bulls for therapy animals. That counters the usual image of pit bulls, turning them from killers into healers–and it would make a good story.

Maybe you want to find ideas to match a specific publication. Okay, dog pubs are obvious, but what about parenting newspapers? How about bully dogs and children? What about publications for seniors? My friend with the pit bulls is a senior; why not do a profile on her? Writing for a community newspaper? Is there a pit bull club or rescue organization in your area? What are the laws and how broadly do they define “pit bulls”?

Whatever’s bugging you is probably bugging other people. Speaking of bugs, a certain pest control company has been pestering me to sign up. Yes, I have bugs, and the salesperson claims they’re going to eat my house, but I don’t want poison sprayed in my yard, nor can I afford the fees. Do I need a professional pest control contract or is there something I can do on my own to keep my house bug free? What can I do that is safe for the environment and my family? What kinds of bugs are not just annoying but truly dangerous?

I could go on forever, but it’s your turn. Write down what’s driving you crazy and see how many different angles you can squeeze out of it.

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