How I Got My Start As A Writer In Magazines

As an aspiring writer, I’m often asked how I got my start. The honest answer is that there’s no one way to get into magazines. It’s not like working in Hollywood or fashion, where you have to be connected before you can even get a foot in the door. 

But if there are some things I wish I had known when I was starting, maybe they’ll help someone else start their career as a writer for magazines (or anywhere else). Here are some tips:

How to Become a Freelance Magazine Article Writer – YouTube
Pursue your passion for writing and
immerse yourself in the world of
magazine journalism. Learn from
established writers and industry
professionals. Build a strong
portfolio showcasing your best work.
Network and seek out opportunities
to get published in magazines.
Embrace the digital age and explore
online publishing opportunities.
Stay persistent and committed to
improving your writing skills.
Be open to freelance opportunities
and consider diverse topics for your
Emphasize creativity and originality
in your writing style.
Learn from rejection and use it as
motivation to grow.

It’s Not About Who You Know

The moral of the story is that it’s not just who you know that gets you a job, but rather how well you can write and what you know. Employers want to know that if they hire someone with a good network, they’ll be getting someone who can write articles well and bring in a new readership. Having connections may get your foot in the door, but it doesn’t guarantee success.

It’s also important to note that having connections isn’t enough on its own and sometimes having connections will hurt your chances of getting hired by a magazine or newspaper! 

This is because many publications have very specific requirements for their writers and editors, so even if an editor knows somebody who works at another publication he won’t necessarily be able to hire them if they don’t meet those requirements (for example: if the publication requires all of its writers/editors live within 40 miles of where it’s headquartered).

Magazine writing is a captivating career choice, offering unique experiences every day. Learn more about the exciting life of a magazine writer in our article on A Day in the Life of a Magazine Writer and discover the thrills of this profession.

I Knew I Wanted To Be A Writer

You have to be passionate about writing.

You need to be able to write well. This includes grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.

You have to be able to write fast. The pace of magazines is very fast you’re often working on tight deadlines for articles that have already been assigned by editorial staff or writers who have gone on vacation unexpectedly (this happens more than you would think). So if you can’t type fast and accurately then this isn’t the job for you!

You need exceptional organizational skills because a lot is going on at any given time when working at a magazine: multiple deadlines are looming over your head at once; 

Emails are coming in from different sources all the time; there are production meetings requiring your attention; there may even be editorial meetings with higher-ups asking questions about their upcoming projects… and so on!

Go To Work Early

The next thing you need to learn is how to be on time. I know, I know: you probably think that being early is the best way to be prepared, but in reality, it’s not always the case. 

Think of it this way: if you show up at work a few minutes early and your boss asks for something from you, do you want him or her to have it? Well, then what are you waiting for? Get out there and get started! Don’t forget about all of those other people who have been waiting for their turn too.

Don’t expect things will come easy either they won’t and they won’t stay that way forever either. There will always be times when someone needs something from us before we even start working so let’s get ready now instead of late never!

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Don’t Get Caught Up On The Title

The title is not the be-all and end-all. The content of your article is what matters most, so you should focus on that. The title can sometimes get in your way if you’re too focused on it if it doesn’t sound right yet, then don’t submit it just because it fits with the theme of the issue.

If a magazine editor asks me to submit an article, I might not have time to write one from scratch (or even think about it) until after they send out an email saying that my piece has been accepted! 

But when I do get around to writing something for them, I try not to worry too much about whether or not my idea fits perfectly into their theme for that issue I just write what feels right at the time and deliver it by the deadline so that there aren’t any problems later on.

There Are So Many Different Ways To Write Articles

Writing for magazines, newspapers, and online sources is a great way to get your foot in the door.

The main difference between writing for these different types of publications is that some of them expect you to write longer articles and others want shorter ones. 

Each type of publication also has its style guide that you can use to help make sure your work sounds like it fits with what they’re looking for while still being unique enough that they won’t have anyone else writing exactly like you.

Here are some examples:

Meet Editors At Events

Meet editors at events. If you want to meet editors, the easiest way is to go to the events that they’re at. There are all kinds of different events and conferences where you can meet them: book signings, book fairs, speaking engagements, and more.

Be prepared with a pitch or proposal. Editors are busy people they don’t have time to read every submission sent their way (even if they wanted to). 

So make sure that when you submit something to an editor in person, it includes everything they need to know about what your proposal/article/story is about so that they can decide whether or not it fits into their magazine/website quickly and easily.

In the digital age, online publishing holds valuable insights for magazine writers. Discover what magazine writers can learn from digital publishers in our enlightening article on Learning from People Who Publish It Online and stay ahead in the industry.

Network The Old-Fashioned Way

Nurture your network of contacts.

Network with people in your industry. Talk to people at events or volunteer for an event that you can get yourself seen at and talk to like-minded people. Be friendly, ask questions and try to find out what they do in their free time, it’s not just about work! 

Ask if they know anyone who might need a freelance writer (or whatever it is you want). And don’t forget to ask them directly if they know anyone who needs help with something – is brave!

Network with people in your community. If you have friends or family members who are part of this field (or any other), ask them for referrals for jobs and opportunities that may not be advertised anywhere else but still exist out there somewhere waiting for someone like yourself! 

This way when someone has a job opening up or even just an opportunity they will think “Oh yeah, I remember talking about how much I wished this other person would come work here with us because he/she seems pretty cool so maybe I should call him/her up?” 

Instead of going through all the trouble of posting ads everywhere trying to find someone suitable most companies will opt instead just call some old friends first before anything else happens because it saves money on ads so why waste money on something unnecessary?

Look For Blogs That Accept Guest Posts And Pitch An Idea

The best way to break into magazines is through guest posts.

A guest post is a post that appears on someone else’s blog under your name, but you don’t get paid for it. Sometimes they give you credit in the byline and sometimes they don’t. 

The advantage of guest posting on smaller blogs is that they’re more likely to accept your pitches since they don’t have as much competition from established writers who can command higher rates. The disadvantage? You probably won’t make much money off of them unless you have a large platform already (which would be another topic entirely).

The first step toward getting started with this method is identifying blogs that accept guest posts so you can pitch ideas to them directly rather than submitting feature stories through an editor at a magazine because as I’ve said before: pitching through an editor doesn’t always yield results!

Write In Your Spare Time

It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing: there’s always a chance to write. I try to write in spare moments throughout the day, and if I can’t, I set myself a goal of writing 1000 words before bed each night. 

This helps me get through those times when work has been slow or stressful, and keeps my mind occupied so that my stress levels don’t affect my writing. 

You might prefer going for long walks instead of sitting at home on the couch with your laptop in front of you that’s fine! The important thing is that whatever you do helps keep your mind focused on what it needs to be focused on (namely: getting words down on paper).

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Apply For Writing Jobs On Craigslist

One of the best places to find writing jobs is Craigslist. The great thing about Craigslist is that it’s free and easy to use, and you can search for jobs by keyword.

Make sure you’re searching in your field of expertise, such as “writer” or “journalism.” You don’t want to be applying for a job writing a magazine article on mountain climbing if you don’t have any experience or training! 

You may also want to look at other terms like “editorial assistant,” which are less specific but often require strong writing skills as well.

Also, make sure that the pay rate is reasonable; if it doesn’t seem like enough money for your time and effort, then pass on this offer!

Don’t Expect An Editor To Respond To A Generic Email Pitch Right Away

When you contact an editor, don’t expect them to respond right away. They might be busy with other things or waiting for their assistant editor to get back from vacation. 

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away there are a lot of reasons why someone might not get back to you (or even if they do). However, there are ways that you can make sure that your email gets read by the editor:

If it’s been at least three weeks since your initial inquiry and there hasn’t been any communication from the magazine yet, send another reminder email.

Send a follow-up email when the magazine has responded saying they’d like more information about what type of article idea(s) interest them most before asking for assignments. This will ensure that editors see your name in their inboxes again if they didn’t respond previously or forgot who exactly asked about writing an article in their publication!

Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow

You may have heard this phrase before, and I’ve written it. But I think it’s worth repeating: Do what you love and the money will follow.

The idea is that if you’re doing something you enjoy and are truly passionate about, then your work won’t feel like work. 

You’ll be excited about the subject matter, so much so that it won’t feel like a job at all! And when people read or hear about what you’ve created whether it’s an article or a movie or a song they’ll want to buy it from you because they see how much joy was put into creating it.

This sounds great in theory but is rather difficult in practice (see our last section on how to make money with writing). If only writing were as easy as telling stories…

Make Sure Your Social Media Accounts Are Professional

Your social media accounts are a reflection of you, so make sure they’re professional. This means that everything shared on your social media accounts should be work-related and timely.

In short: If a potential reader or editor comes across your Twitter feed and sees content that’s not related to the subject matter of your magazine pieces, it will make them wonder about your ability as a writer and whether or not they should trust you with their advertising dollars. 

And if an editor who is considering hiring you notices that you’ve posted photos of yourself drinking at bars while wearing pajamas instead of attending industry events? Well…you might want to start looking for another job.

Ask Questions, A Lot Of Them

Asking questions is a great way to make sure you’re understanding the topic, but it’s also helpful in understanding the person. 

If they’re a subject matter expert, they might be able to answer your questions on their own but even if they can’t, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about them.

If you have time and access to your editor, asking questions can also help build rapport with them before any writing starts. Your editor needs to know that you’re interested in what he or she has to say, so showing interest by asking questions will show him or her that you want this job and want this magazine!

The more interested in learning from others you appear as an intern or writer at any level (even if it’s just at first), the easier it will become over time because people are naturally receptive towards those who show interest in them as well themselves.”

Read Everything You Can Get Your Hands On, Even If It’s Not In Your Genre

One of the best ways to become a better writer is to read, read, and then read some more. It’s that simple. The more you read, the more ideas you’ll get for your writing and the more likely it is that you will encounter key phrases or sentences that can serve as inspiration for your pieces.

Reading a variety of things not just what’s in your genre will help you learn about different topics, which is important since no one wants to be known as “that guy who only writes about cats. 

Reading helps you learn about different styles of writing as well for example: how many words should there be on a page? How long should paragraphs be? Should there be subheadings? These are all things that can vary widely depending on who writes them!

Be Prepared To Work For Free

Build a portfolio: Once you have a few pieces, whether they’re published or not, start sending them out to the editors of magazines and websites that have a style similar to yours. 

If there’s an article they recently published that reminds you of something you’d like to write, send them an email with the link and suggest that you could do something similar for their publication.

Get your first paid writing job: If there’s no appropriate outlet for your work at first and this is often the case then consider starting up your blog or website where people can read and buy it directly from you (like [my friend] Heather does). 

You’ll want to put some thought into how much money this will make before deciding whether or not it’s worth doing; after all, bloggers aren’t exactly rolling in cash these days!

Get paid writing jobs in niches where other writers are already making money: For example, fiction writers often sell short stories or novels directly through Amazon KDP Select; 

Travel bloggers who’ve visited specific destinations may sell tours with companies like Viator or G Adventures; food & beverage enthusiasts who know about local watering holes often find work as beer reps or bartenders at events sponsored by breweries…the possibilities are endless!

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Join A Writers Group In Real Life Or Online

When I was first starting, I joined a writers group in real life. It was great because the support I received from other writers motivated me to keep writing and helped me grow as an artist. 

They also critiqued my work and remember, it’s important to get feedback on your writing so that you can improve! This is especially true if you want to write for magazines and newspapers or blog about fashion or beauty products; editors always appreciate a writer with strong opinions who can argue their point of view well.

The best thing about joining a real-life writers group is that they often know people who might be looking for freelance help or want to hire someone full-time at their company so check out what groups are active near where you live! 

If there aren’t any groups nearby, try searching online instead: there are tons of communities that connect professional writers over social media channels like Facebook Messenger or Slack (which is free).

Go To School/Take Classes

One of the best ways to get a job in magazines is to go to school for it. If you don’t want to go back for another degree, there are plenty of classes that can help you gain experience and knowledge about writing for magazines. 

There are specific courses out there where teachers will teach students how to write well and how to submit their work successfully, which is something that all writers should know before they start submitting anything anywhere.

There are also many different types of classes available if you want more than just one type of education or training – here are some examples:

Journalism/Media Studies: These programs teach you everything from basic reporting skills up to editing at various levels (from local newspapers up to national publications). They also cover ethics and law as it relates specifically to journalists working within their fields (which might not always be easy!).

Write Down Your Ideas Everywhere And All The Time

Keep a notebook handy at all times. When you’re in line at the grocery store, waiting for an appointment, or walking down the street write something down. If you don’t have a notebook with you, pull out a sticky note and write it there instead. 

You can even jot ideas down on your phone if that seems more convenient (or if someone does not allow writing implements in their personal space). The important thing is that you keep track of as many of your ideas as possible so they won’t slip away into oblivion!

Start By Freelancing For A Small Blog Or Website Without Paying Attention To How Well They Pay Their Writers

Get paid for your work.

This is the first lesson I learned as a writer, and it’s one that many people don’t think about. People generally consider writing as something you do for free or for fun. That is not true! As a writer, you can get paid even if you’re just starting and don’t have a large following or experience.

How does this happen? It’s simple: content creators need content to fill their pages, so they will often hire freelance writers to help them with this task. This means that there are plenty of opportunities out there for anyone who wants them (and especially those who are willing). 

You just need to be proactive in looking for these opportunities rather than waiting around expecting someone else to find them first (or worse yet not looking at all).

Go After Celebrity Interviews That Others Haven’t Done Yet

You can also get a lot of attention for writing about celebrities, but what’s even better is writing about celebrities that other people haven’t done yet. If you’re going to write about someone, why not go for the most obscure person you can find?

It doesn’t matter how famous they are either so long as no one else has written about them before and they’re willing to speak with you. Even if your subject is already well-known, there’s still a chance that no one has asked them certain questions before!


Now, I’m a full-time writer and editor. I have worked for several magazines and have edited for other publications. When I started my career as a writer, it wasn’t easy at all. It took me almost 10 years before I was able to make this dream become a reality. For those of you who are starting or looking to break into this industry: don’t give up!

Further Reading

Indeed Career Advice: How to Become a Magazine Writer Short Description: Indeed’s comprehensive guide on the steps and skills needed to pursue a career as a magazine writer.

Freelance Writing: How to Become a Magazine Writer Short Description: A valuable resource from Freelance Writing, providing insights and tips for aspiring magazine writers.

MasterClass: How to Get into Magazine Writing Short Description: MasterClass offers expert advice on breaking into the world of magazine writing and excelling in the field.


How to start a career in magazine writing?

Starting a career in magazine writing involves building a strong portfolio, networking with industry professionals, and honing your writing skills through practice.

What qualifications do I need to become a magazine writer?

While formal qualifications can be helpful, passion for writing, creativity, and a strong understanding of the target audience are more critical for magazine writers.

How can I find magazine writing opportunities?

To find magazine writing opportunities, research magazines that align with your interests, pitch article ideas to editors, and consider freelance platforms and job boards.

What topics can I write about as a magazine writer?

Magazine writers can cover a wide range of topics, from lifestyle and travel to business and technology. It depends on your expertise and the magazine’s focus.

How much do magazine writers earn?

Earnings for magazine writers vary depending on factors like experience, publication, and article length. Freelance writers may earn per word or article, while staff writers may have a salary.