My First Exposure To Magazine Writing And Everything That Happened Since

I’ve been writing for a variety of media for over 20 years. During this time, I’ve seen a lot. I’m sure you have too: the rise and fall of Web 1.0; blogging and podcasting in their infancy; social media becoming part of our daily lives; the death throes of traditional media (even as they start to come back); and more. 

But what might be most interesting is how these changes affect writers and how they can help you too if you want to write professionally online or in print.

In this post, we’ll look at my first exposure to magazine writing when I was just starting, discuss how the Internet changed things for writers like me (and everyone else), and then talk about how all that has impacted my career over time and hopefully give you some ideas about your writing career as well! Let’s get started!

Writers at Work: Submitting to Literary Magazines – YouTube
1. Embracing the Journey: The blog explores the author’s initial experiences in magazine writing, highlighting the importance of embracing every step of the writing journey with an open mind and eagerness to learn.
2. Growth and Learning: From the author’s experiences, we understand that each writing opportunity brings growth and learning, allowing writers to refine their skills and develop a unique writing style.
3. Overcoming Challenges: The blog shares the challenges faced during the journey, emphasizing the significance of resilience and determination to overcome obstacles and evolve as a writer.
4. Successes and Triumphs: The author celebrates their successes and triumphs, showcasing how persistence and passion can lead to achievements and recognition in the world of magazine writing.
5. Inspiring Aspirants: Aspiring magazine writers can find inspiration from the blog, understanding that their journey may be filled with ups and downs, but staying true to their passion can lead to a fulfilling writing career.

Decide What Kind Of Writer You Want To Be

As you explore magazine writing, you should think about exactly what kind of writer you want to be. Do you want to write fiction? If so, what genre? Are there any particular magazines or publishers that fit your style and interests? 

Non-fiction writing is also a possibility and offers the chance for many types of topics and publications. Do some research into different types of non-fiction magazines.

Finally, don’t forget about newspapers! Newspapers are usually divided into local and national sections: local papers report on events in their specific cities while national papers offer more broad coverage on topics such as politics or business news. 

Both kinds tend to offer plenty of opportunities for writers at all levels; however, if you can’t find anything right away keep looking because there’s always something new coming out every day!

As a magazine writer, understanding how people publish content online can open up new opportunities. Explore our guide on What Magazine Writers Can Learn from People Who Publish It Online to gain insights from successful online publishers and apply them to your writing journey.

Determining Your Goals

Before you can start setting goals, you need to figure out what your goals are. Define what you want to achieve and write it down. If you’re not sure what your goals should be, start by making a list of all the things that are important to you. 

Is it travel? Education? A promotion at work? Are there other things on this list that are more specific than just “money” or “success”? Once the big picture is clear in your mind, think about what steps will help get you closer to those goals. For example:

Write down a plan for achieving each goal

Set deadlines for when certain milestones need to happen before moving on to other parts of the plan (for example: “I want an agent by June 1st”)

Set reward incentives for reaching milestones (for example: “If I send out 50 query letters by next Monday month’s end, I’ll buy myself a new pair of jeans”)

Write About What You Already Know

The first piece of advice given to an aspiring magazine writer is to write about something they are passionate or knowledgeable about. This is good advice and a fun way to jump in, but it’s also a little too easy. 

I’m not saying that writing about the things you love will be bad for your career (it won’t), but as a beginner, there’s nothing wrong with leaving yourself some room to grow before becoming too set in your ways.

Write about something you are curious about.

Asking questions is what makes us human, so why not turn those questions into blog posts or articles? Not only does this give us the chance to step outside our comfort zones and explore new topics it also gives us something interesting (and hopefully) unique to say on those topics!

Curious about the daily experiences of magazine writers? Delve into our captivating article, Magazine Writing: A Day in the Life, where we reveal the behind-the-scenes of this dynamic profession and how to thrive in its vibrant environment.

How To Develop Your Writing Style

Your writing style is something that develops over time, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to help get there. One of the best ways to develop your unique voice and style is to write about what you know and love.

If you’re interested in writing about fashion, focus on your favorite designers or the latest trends. If sports are more of your thing, talk about a team that’s important to you or describe what makes them so special.

In addition to writing about things you love, try experimenting with topics that make you curious or passionate if they’re not already familiar territory for you (and even if they are). 

For example, if cooking isn’t something that makes me particularly excited at this point in my life although it used to be I still want my readership here in Food & Wine Magazine to know how much I enjoy food writing because it provides me an opportunity not only learn more about ingredients but also explore different cultures through their cuisine!

Don’t Bury The Lead

The lead is the most important part of the article. It should be the first paragraph, and it should contain the most interesting information that your reader will need to know. 

At its core, it’s an introductory paragraph that summarizes what you want to say in a way that gets people interested enough to keep reading. If you’re writing a science article about climate change, for example, here’s how you might begin:

“The world has changed significantly over time from new inventions like smartphones (which have many more uses than phones) to changes in government policy like laws against smoking in restaurants (which have become more common across America). 

The weather has also played a role in changing things: some parts of the planet are experiencing harsher winters while others are seeing hotter summers.” 

In this case, I’ve used an obvious technique called “burying” my lead presenting a lot of background information before revealing why I brought up these details or how they relate to my main point about climate change being both good & bad.”

Join me in my exhilarating venture through the world of magazine writing. In my reflective narrative, My First Exposure to Magazine Writing and Everything That Happened Since, I share my challenges, growth, and triumphs as a budding writer.

Keep An Editor Or A Friend Close At Hand

The next step is to read what you’ve written out loud. This is so incredibly important. You might think that it’s fine, but trust me it isn’t until you read it aloud and hear how awkward the sentence structure sounds or how jarring an image is. 

When my friend first read my piece out loud, she said something along the lines of “Well, I don’t see what’s wrong with this here.” And then when we got to another section, she said “Why did you say ‘blank’ instead of ‘blink’? That’s not even a word!” Once I changed all my words from “blinking” to “blinking,” everything sounded better.

If someone else proofreads your work for you (and I recommend this), thank them profusely for helping make sure there aren’t any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes in there! 

Make sure that person knows how much they mean to their friend/family member/colleague by giving them a gift card or some other token of appreciation once their work on your piece has been completed successfully!

Read The Writer’s Guidelines Before Submitting Anything

The first thing you should do is read the writer’s guidelines for the magazine you’re submitting to. This will help you determine whether or not your story fits with what they’re looking for.

It’s also important to understand the magazine’s focus and style, as well as its word count. If it’s a weekly news magazine and your piece is more of an essay than a news article, that might not be something they’d take on. If it’s a political blog and your story is about puppies at the dog park, maybe don’t submit there either!

It can be hard to tell where stories fit when there aren’t any specific guidelines available online (or if those guidelines are unclear). 

In those cases, I usually write to someone at the publication directly via email and ask how they prefer their contributors’ pieces formatted/worded/etc., though this isn’t always possible especially when dealing with larger publications such as The New York Times or Washington Post where hundreds may reply each day from all over the world!

Offer A Few Different Story Ideas

When you’re offered an assignment, offer a few different story ideas. You want to be sure that your editor only sees the best of your work. You also want them to see that you are capable of being creative in addition to doing good reporting. The more variety and flexibility you show, the more likely they will be willing to work with you on future assignments.

Your idea might not always be accepted and that’s fine! Sometimes editors are looking for something specific and it doesn’t matter how well-written or researched your idea is, if it isn’t what they want then it won’t work out. 

But other times editors might find inspiration in what you propose and ultimately use one of those ideas as their own! It’s happened many times before; I once pitched three different ideas for an article through my agent and all three ended up being published under my name (thanks agent!).

Are you new to the world of magazine writing? Fear not! Our essential guide, Magazine Writing for Dummies, will equip you with fundamental techniques and knowledge to kickstart your writing journey like a pro.

Don’t Send In A Query Letter Until You Are Ready

Don’t send in a query letter until you are ready.

You don’t want to be the writer who sends in a query letter that is too long, not interesting enough, or includes typos and grammatical errors. If you wait until your pitch is perfect then it will not only make you feel more confident but also increase your chances of getting published.

Do Due Diligence

This is the first lesson that I learned from my first magazine writing experience. When you’re pitching to a publication, it’s important to do your homework and know your audience. 

Read their website and blog, subscribe to their email newsletters, and check out their social media pages so that when you send in your story idea, they’ll already be familiar with who you are and what kind of content they can expect from reading one of your articles.

If you’re going to pitch a story idea or article idea and especially if it’s going straight into them publishing it on their site it needs to be ready for prime time. 

You need a solid plan for how this will work before approaching them with an idea: how many words it will run; whether there are any images needed; whether there’s anything else they want to be included (like links back). 

Think through all these things before asking for permission to write about them because if not done properly then chances are very high that editors won’t even look at what we say next!

Find The Right Person And Pitch Them Your Idea

The first thing you should do is find the right person.

It’s important to know the person you are pitching to because it helps to establish rapport and trust with them. If possible, learn about their interests and background; this will help you create an article that they’re interested in reading. 

You also need to know their publication: Is it a blog or website? Does it have a distinct style or tone? What kind of topics does it typically cover? Are there any time limits on submissions (e.g., if they only accept written pitches once every two months)? Finally, know what kind of payment policies are in place: 

Do contributors get paid for their work? How much do they pay? And finally and perhaps most importantly find out how exactly you can contact the right person at that publication about pitching your idea!

Wondering where your magazine writing skills can lead you? Uncover a plethora of exciting options in our article, Magazine Writing Career Paths You Should Consider, and set yourself up for a fulfilling and rewarding writing career.


I hope you found this article informative and helpful. It’s been a long road for me, but I’m glad to see my passion for writing finally starting to pay off. If there’s any advice I can give you in closing it would be: don’t give up! Keep trying until something sticks – because eventually, it will.

Further Reading

History of Magazine Publishing: Explore the fascinating evolution of magazine publishing from its inception to the present day.

How to Write a Magazine Article: Discover valuable tips and techniques for crafting compelling and engaging magazine articles.

Magazine Writing: A Scholarly Perspective: Dive into an academic examination of the art and impact of magazine writing.


What are the key milestones in the history of magazine publishing?

The history of magazine publishing is rich and diverse, with significant milestones like the first printed magazine, the emergence of specialized publications, and the digital revolution shaping the industry’s evolution.

How do I write an attention-grabbing magazine article?

To write a captivating magazine article, focus on an intriguing hook, compelling storytelling, and valuable insights that resonate with your target audience.

What makes magazine writing different from other forms of writing?

Magazine writing stands out due to its concise yet engaging style, emphasis on visual elements, and adaptability to diverse readerships.

How can I effectively structure a magazine article?

A well-structured magazine article typically includes a captivating introduction, a coherent flow of ideas, and a memorable conclusion that leaves a lasting impact on readers.

What role do magazines play in scholarly research?

Magazines contribute to scholarly research by disseminating accessible and informative content that bridges the gap between academic expertise and public understanding.