A Beginner’s Guide To Magazine Writing

If you’ve ever wanted to write for magazines, you may be intimidated by the thought of breaking into the field. But don’t worry! It’s easier than you think I know because I’ve been writing for magazines for years. 

The truth is: Anyone can write an article for a magazine if they have good ideas, a solid sense of voice, and enough time to do the research necessary to make sure their facts are correct. In this guide, I’ll tell you everything I know about how we “do” our stories in my magazine and how anyone can follow suit if they want to write one too.

How to Get Published in a Magazine – YouTube
1. Understand Your Target Audience: Know who the magazine’s readers are and tailor your content to resonate with them.
2. Study the Magazine’s Style: Familiarize yourself with the magazine’s tone, formatting, and writing style to align your work with their preferences.
3. Craft Compelling Pitches: Create concise and captivating article pitches that highlight your unique perspective and expertise.
4. Embrace Rejection: Receiving rejections is a part of the process, so stay persistent and use feedback to improve your writing.
5. Network and Collaborate: Join writing communities, attend workshops, and build relationships with editors and other writers to expand your opportunities.

Be Realistic

You should also be realistic about what you can achieve. If you are writing a travel piece, know that it’s unlikely that anyone will want to read a piece by a first-time writer who has never traveled outside of their own country. 

You need to be able to show some proof of experience for an editor to take your ideas seriously enough to publish them in their magazine or newspaper.

It’s also important not only to know what you are good at and what you are not good at but also how much time and effort each requires from you as the writer. Writing is often seen as glamorous work, 

But if your strengths lie in creative thinking rather than research skills then don’t invest too much time trying to write articles on subjects where there isn’t much data available for research purposes; instead, focus on topics where there’s more information out there already (such as finance) or where there could be more interesting angles explored (like social issues). 

It’s worth noting here though: if this means spending long hours researching existing material then do so! It might seem like overkill now but when it comes time for submitting articles later down the line those extra hours spent researching now will pay off big time!

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Write The Article You Wish You Could Read

The best way to write a magazine article is to write the article you wish you could read. If it’s not something you’re passionate about or interested in, why would your readers be?

Be bold and creative with your topic selection. Write about things that are new, different, quirky, and unexpected. Choose subjects that will challenge your creativity but won’t alienate the reader by being too obscure or complicated.

Write In Your Voice

Be yourself, be honest, and be real. Don’t try to write like someone else or attempt humor if you don’t have a sense of humor (unless the magazine specifically asks for humor). 

Likewise, if the topic is serious and you are writing an article about a devastating forest fire, don’t feel obligated to add drama into the piece just because that would sell more magazines if it feels wrong to do so then don’t do it!

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Don’t Be A Generalist

I know this sounds like a strange tip to give, but it’s important to think about what kind of writer you want to be. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with being an all-around jack-of-all-trades (and indeed, there are many successful professionals who fit this description). 

But if your goal is to make writing your full-time career, then I’d advise you not to pigeonhole yourself into being a generalist. While certain magazines will accept submissions from writers who can write on just about anything and everything under the sun, most editors will expect more specialization from their staff. 

For example: if you’re interested in writing about technology at large but don’t have any particular area that interests you more than any other (such as artificial intelligence or computer science), then it may not be worth applying for jobs at such magazines unless they have openings specifically for someone like yourself (which is rare). 

Instead of trying so hard in one direction when there may not even be an opening there yet anyway, why not focus on something else?

Think about what topics interest you most or hold some personal significance; these should probably become your “specialty” areas under which all future articles will fall.

Don’t Be A Specialist Either

You may be wondering what being a generalist has to do with writing for magazines. Well, when it comes to writing for magazines, the more specialized you are, the less room there is for you in the market.

Now let me explain why that is.

There are certain types of magazines that specialize in covering certain topics: health and fitness magazines, parenting magazines, and so on. 

If you write about your area of expertise (say, travel) as part of your blog or website content but don’t have any intention of going into print then this might not apply to you but if you do want to get published someday then here’s what I’d suggest:

Instead of writing only about travel but also becoming an authority on other topics related (like wildlife photography or hiking), try broadening out into general interest areas like food and fashion instead or even better yet science! 

This way when someone reads something interesting they’ll associate those thoughts through association with other things they’ve heard before while still getting exposed to something new too (which makes reading fun!). This way readers will feel like they’re learning new things without needing much effort at all!

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Think Like An Editor

While you are writing your story, think like an editor. Editors want stories that are:

reader-friendly: a good magazine article has a clear point and tells the reader why they should care about it compellingly. It should be easy to read, not too long, and not too short. You can write this using simple language, avoiding jargon or technical terms unless necessary (and even then make sure you explain them). 

The beginning of your piece should grab their attention and compel them to keep reading; the middle should develop your argument; the end should wrap things up nicely so that people leave satisfied after reading it – if not wishing there was more!

editor-friendly: remember that editors have lots of competing stories for each issue/issue topic they have available space for – so make sure yours is something they would choose from all those other submissions if given the chance!

Don’t Be Afraid Of Short, Punchy Sentences And Strong Verbs

The best way to make your writing more punchy is to avoid the passive voice and use strong verbs. This means that instead of saying “I was running,” you will write “I ran.” It’s a small change, but it makes a big difference in how your narrative reads.

The next element you want to consider when writing short sentences is using concrete nouns instead of abstract ones like “information” or “many.” Using concrete nouns will help make sure you’re always talking about something specific in your story and that’s much easier for readers to understand than vague concepts!

Lastly, try not to use filler words like “um” or “uh,” which could be replaced by stronger language like “and then.” There are also other types of filler words such as adverbs (very) and adjectives (really), which should be avoided when possible because they can weaken the power of your sentences by slowing down their pace and adding too much information at once!

Use As Few Adjectives As Possible

You can reduce the number of adjectives in your writing by doing the following:

Look for “to be” verbs. If a verb is being modified by an adjective, you may be able to swap it out for something stronger or more meaningful. For instance, replace “is wonderful” with “gives joy.” This will also help add variety to your sentences and make them more engaging for readers.

Identify subjective adjectives. Subjective adjectives are often meaningless and unnecessary because they describe things in terms of opinion rather than fact. For example, if you’re describing clothes as “cool” or “fashionable,” this isn’t very helpful information unless you have some sort of definition for what cool means (and even then). 

In some cases, they can be replaced with more descriptive nouns or verbs instead without losing any meaning at all!

So now that we’ve covered some basics about how to write an article properly, let’s look at some tips specific to magazine writing:

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Use As Few Adverbs As Possible

Adverbs a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb need not be avoided; they simply need to be used sparingly.

“They are generally used to add emphasis or indicate a comparison,” says Rachelle Gardner, a freelance writer, and editor. “Think of adverbs as being the spice of your writing.”

Avoiding them altogether can result in bland prose. For example: “We see her every day” does nothing to convey an emotional response from the reader about seeing this person every day (or even if he or she is happy or sad about it). This sentence could instead be written as “We see her every day and wish we could never see her again.”

In most cases, replacing an adverb with stronger verbs will help you achieve your goal without any loss in meaning: “He walked quickly down the sidewalk” becomes “He strode down the sidewalk”; while “She ran quickly into her bedroom” becomes “She dashed into her bedroom.

Don’t Overthink Your Story Structure Or Spend Too Much Time Outlining And Brainstorming

You’ve got a deadline, and you want to impress your editor. So, you begin writing. You type fast. You’re excited about what you’ve written so far the idea is solid, and it’s going well! 

Then, after an hour or two of typing furiously away at the keyboard, you take a break from writing to run some errands or make dinner. When you return to your desk (or wherever else it is that writers write), all of your work is gone! All that remains are three sentences: “Once upon a time there was a man who lived in New York City.”

The moral of this story is? Don’t spend too much time thinking about how exactly the story should be structured before jumping into writing it out. Instead, focus on getting those words down onto paper (or screen) as quickly as possible don’t worry if they’re perfect; just get them done!

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So there you have it, a few tips to get you started on writing your first magazine article. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a few tries before you nail that perfect story structure or catch the editor’s eye with your unique voice. The key is to keep at it and keep learning from each experience along the way!

Further Reading

How to Write Articles for Magazines: This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and tips on crafting engaging articles specifically tailored for magazines.

How to Write Articles That Sell: A Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing: This beginner-friendly article provides practical advice on writing articles that have a higher chance of selling in the competitive freelance writing market.

How to Write and Sell Articles for Magazines: Authored by Nichola Meyer, this blog post offers useful tips and strategies on writing and successfully selling articles to magazines.


How do I find magazine writing opportunities?

Finding magazine writing opportunities involves researching magazines that align with your interests and writing style. Look for submission guidelines on their websites and reach out to their editors with well-crafted pitches.

What should I consider when writing for magazines?

When writing for magazines, consider the target audience, the magazine’s tone and style, and the topics that resonate with their readers. Tailor your content to meet their specific requirements.

How can I improve my magazine writing skills?

Improving your magazine writing skills requires regular practice, feedback, and studying the work of successful magazine writers. Joining writing communities and attending workshops can also be beneficial.

How do I approach article pitches to magazines?

Craft a concise and compelling article pitch that showcases your unique angle, expertise, and why your article would be a valuable addition to the magazine. Follow the magazine’s submission guidelines and be professional in your approach.

How can I increase my chances of getting published in magazines?

To increase your chances of getting published, thoroughly research the magazine’s content and style, submit polished and well-edited articles, and be persistent. Building relationships with editors can also enhance your chances of acceptance.