Starting The Magazine Freelance Writing Career Guide

The best way to start your freelance writing career is to just jump in. Yes, there are lots of things you should do first: learn about the business side of getting published (how and where to sell your writing). 

Practice a lot (a lot), read lots more than you wrote, network with other writers and editors, and take classes and workshops all of these things will improve your understanding of how things work and help you develop as a writer. 

They’ll also give you an idea of what kind of editor would be best suited for your style. But they won’t guarantee that anyone will ever publish any words by or about you or pay them! So if you’re just starting as a freelancer, do yourself a favor: Don’t wait for permission. Here’s what it means.

1. Understand the magazine writing industry and its opportunities.
2. Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your writing skills.
3. Learn how to pitch ideas effectively to magazine editors.
4. Build connections and network with other freelance writers.
5. Stay persistent and resilient in pursuing magazine writing gigs.

1. Don’t Wait For Permission

Don’t wait for permission, just do it. You don’t need anyone else to tell you it’s okay to start. You don’t even need anyone else to tell you what they think of your idea and whether or not they think it will work out! The only person who needs to give their opinion on your idea is YOU!

You have an idea in mind and the only way that idea will become reality is if YOU make the first move towards making it a reality. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect opportunity; just go ahead and do something about it now!

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2. Work With What You Have

If you don’t have an education or experience, that’s okay! The best way to get your foot in the door is to start writing. Start a blog on WordPress or Tumblr and write about topics that interest you. 

You can also use this time to learn how to use SEO tools like Google Analytics so that when you do get hired, your editor will be impressed by the traffic numbers on your articles. Don’t give up if nothing comes of it immediately; keep writing until someone gives you a chance!

If you don’t have access to technology such as tablets and smartphones or even computers there are still ways for you to make money online. 

There are many freelance jobs available for writers who cannot afford laptops or smartphones; one such job is proofreading documents from home without any technology at all (I know because I did it while living with my parents after college). 

If this sounds appealing but seems too good to be true: It isn’t! Proofreading jobs are very real, though they do require some patience when applying because there are many more applicants than positions available at any given time due to the high demand for these types of jobs both inside and outside academia.

3. Observe Norms, But Don’t Feel Restricted By Them

It’s important to know the rules of the industry and/or publication before you start writing for it. But don’t let that knowledge become a restraint on your creativity. 

Even when you’re working within a set format (such as in a magazine), you can take creative liberties if the editor is open to it. If not, then at least make sure you’re following their style guide even if it means writing your best work according to someone else’s standards!

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4. Keep It Simple And Know The Standard

Now that you’ve got your head around the basics, here’s what to do next: keep it simple and know the standard.

You should also be aware of what other writers are doing, getting paid, published, reviewed, and so on. But don’t worry about them too much as they’re unlikely to be in a position to offer you any advice or help. They’re probably not even aware of how much money they could make if they were willing to learn more (or at least try).

5. Practice Makes Perfect – And So Does Editing

Writing is a skill that can be learned. If you are new to writing, then it will take time to get used to the process and improve your skills. But practice makes perfect!

As you work on your articles, make sure that you edit them thoroughly before submitting them for publication. Editing does not mean just fixing grammar and spelling mistakes. It means rewriting sentences so they flow better (and make more sense) or removing unnecessary information or adding more detail where needed.

You may be surprised how much editing changes the tone of an article from boring or simple into exciting and engaging reading material for readers!

Are you considering a career as a freelance magazine writer? Take the first step by learning how to break into freelance magazine writing with our practical tips and advice to land your first gig.

6. Model Your Work After Writers You Admire Not Just One

If you’re trying to figure out how to start your freelance writing career and want to model some of your work after other writers, there are several things you can do. First off, look for writers who have a similar style and tone as yourself. 

These writers will be more likely to share the same audience as you (or at least an overlapping one) so it’ll be easier to market yourself through their contacts. You’ll also want to find other writers who cover similar topics this will help with marketing later on! 

Finally, it helps if you find writers around the same age as yourself: most magazines only accept submissions from people under 35 years old so it might not make sense for someone older than that to even bother applying!

7. Use Your Knowledge Of The Topic To Find Questions Worth Answering

Use your knowledge of the topic to find questions worth answering

You know more about your topic than you think! A good rule of thumb is, that if you have an interest in something, chances are other people do as well. If you can convince a magazine that they’ll be able to sell copies by writing about it, then you’re already halfway there.

Some helpful resources on writing: The first thing I recommend doing is reading some articles from magazines that publish freelance writers regularly. 

You want to see what kind of style they use and how much information they provide for their readers so that when it comes time for you to pitch an article idea or submit a finished piece for publication.

It will be easier for them (and their readers) to understand what value there is in reading what you have written and therefore why it should be published by them (and not someone else). 

Magazines like Entrepreneur and Inc Magazine have excellent online archives where everything from past issues can be accessed easily; however, my favorite resource when looking up specific articles related to freelance writing was Problogger by Darren Rowse (the founder of one of my favorite sites – Digital Photography School).

8. Get Over Yourself And Ask For Feedback

Feedback is one of the most important parts of writing. It will help you to improve your work and understand what’s working and what isn’t. In addition, it can also help you get a job as a writer because editors like knowing that the person they’re hiring are not afraid to take in criticism and use it to make their work better.

When asking for feedback, there are three things that you should keep in mind:

Ask specific questions about what kind of feedback your reader wants or needs. You could say something like: “I’d love some tips on how I can improve this piece.” Or “Can you tell me if my message is clear?”

Be prepared for any answer they give even if it’s not what you were expecting! If someone says there are too many commas in one paragraph (and there were), do not just ignore them out loud; write down what they said so that next time around when it comes up again, you will know why people don’t like those commas there!

Remember that giving constructive criticism does not mean being mean or rude about anything! Constructive criticism means pointing out problems with something but also giving suggestions on how those problems might be fixed so next time around everything turns out great again 🙂

Aspiring to become a better magazine writer? Check out our list of 15 tips for better magazine writing that will help you hone your craft and produce compelling articles that captivate readers.

9. Get Over Yourself And Ask For Help

You’re not the only person who has to work on this project. You’re not the only person who has ideas or opinions about it. And you’re not going to get far by trying to do everything yourself and then wondering why things don’t work out exactly how you want them to.

Asking for help doesn’t make you look stupid, especially if you ask with sincerity and respect. People are more than willing to share their knowledge if they see that it’s being approached with an open mind and a willingness on your part (and theirs) for collaboration. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes either; everyone does at some point in time!

10. Take A Class; Buy A Book; Subscribe To A Helpful Website Or E-Newsletter

The best way to learn a new skill is to get help from someone who has experience. If you have the opportunity and the cash, taking a class in writing can be incredibly helpful. You’ll not only get access to an instructor who knows more about it than you do, but also other students who are probably just as eager to learn as you are.

Another great way to learn how to write is by reading books on the topic, both fiction and nonfiction. The advice these authors give may not always apply directly to freelance writing (they usually don’t), but it will give valuable insight into how they became successful and what made them effective at their jobs. 

Reading other writers’ work can also be inspiring and even if it doesn’t motivate you enough for action right away, sometimes just knowing that someone else has succeeded where you want success gives comfort when things aren’t going well!

If there’s no class or book available locally or online that suits what interests me at any given time (which happens often!), then I look up some blogs related specifically to my niche which provide tips/advice along with regular updates related toward my specific needs (usual topics like SEO/SEM/Social Media). Blogs written by experts tend

11. Use Email Best Practices

Use a professional email address and signature

Use a professional subject line

Use a professional greeting

Use a professional closing

Be polite to everyone you correspond with, as well as the editors of publications that publish your work, whether they are old or new contacts

Be clear and concise in your communication with editors (and other writers) if there is something you don’t understand about the process or protocol at their publication

Make sure to check for typos before sending anything out digitally – it can cost you credibility! 8a4LSP-guZj1dv2MzBw5PPiYrJ5rX9vf8A=

12. Make It Easy On Your Editor Use Subheads, Active Voice

You might be able to get away with sloppy writing when you’re submitting short pieces to the local newspaper, but that’s not going to fly with a magazine editor. They’ll expect you to put the same level of effort into an article that they did in creating it.

So how can you make your work easy on your editor? The first step is simple: Write clearly and simply so it’s easy for anyone to understand. And by “clearly,” I don’t just mean using subheads or active voice; I mean using simple language (i.e., words with fewer syllables) and short sentences/paragraphs/words whenever possible. 

This will keep readers engaged because they won’t have as much trouble following along which could help them remember how great your article was later on!

13. Let Go Of Perfectionism, Focus On Craftiness Instead (Don’t Fret About Things You Can’t Control)

Letting go of perfectionism is hard, but it’s necessary to allow yourself to have fun and grow as a writer. Perfectionism will stifle creativity if you let it.

Focus on what you can control. Perfectionism comes from an inability to accept the truth that we all make mistakes, especially when we’re writing in a creative field like freelancing or journalism (and even more so if English isn’t your first language). 

You need to be able to look at your writing objectively and ask yourself: “Do I want to publish this?” If the answer is yes, then move on; if not, rewrite it until you can say yes!

Focus on your craftiness instead. Reviewing a writers’ list or masterclass has helped me see how many different types of writers there are out there and how each person has their unique process for getting things done efficiently and effectively. 

Use this knowledge to inform what works best for *you*, whether it’s outlining everything before starting the first draft or just letting ideas flow onto paper without any planning whatsoever!

Finding the right magazine markets is crucial for freelance writers. Explore our guide on how to find the best magazine markets and uncover the most suitable platforms to showcase your writing talents and reach a broader audience.

14. Be A Sponge Soak Up Everything You Can From Editors, Writers, etc., then figure out how to make those lessons work for you

Be a sponge soaking up everything you can from editors, writers, etc., then figure out how to make those lessons work for you

If you’re starting at the bottom and working your way up, it’s important to learn from everyone around you. 

This includes other writers who are more experienced than you and may have been in this business longer than you have; editors who know their jobs well and can teach you best practices; the business side of getting published (marketing, advertising salespeople, etc.). 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request feedback! There’s no such thing as too many resources when it comes to learning about anything new.

15. Learn About The Business Side Of Getting Published (How And Where To Sell Your Writing)

There are lots of ways to get published, but you’ll need to learn how to submit your best work to the publications that will be most interested in it. The best place to start is with magazines that hire more freelancers than any other industry (finance, healthcare, and technology). 

Magazines will often want articles about things like fashion trends or celebrity gossip, so if that’s not your thing then look for a different publication. If you do find something related to what interests you though or even if it isn’t you’ll still have plenty of opportunities! You can also pitch ideas directly to newspapers if they’re hiring freelancers.


I hope this guide helps you get started on your way to becoming a freelance writer. You can do it! I know because I’ve been there and I’m still fighting every day to make things happen for myself. It’s not easy, but if you’re passionate enough about what you write then things will eventually fall into place. Good luck!

Further Reading

Indeed Career Advice: How to Become a Freelance Writer: This article offers valuable insights and step-by-step guidance on kickstarting your journey as a freelance writer.

Rock Content: What Is a Freelance Writer?: Discover the definition and scope of freelance writing in this comprehensive guide by Rock Content.

MasterClass: Tips for a Successful Freelance Writing Career: Learn from industry experts with these tips to build a successful freelance writing career.


How do I start a freelance writing career?

Starting a freelance writing career involves identifying your niche, building a portfolio, and pitching your services to potential clients.

What skills do I need to become a freelance writer?

To become a successful freelance writer, you should have strong writing skills, creativity, time management, and the ability to adapt to different writing styles.

How can I find freelance writing opportunities?

You can find freelance writing opportunities by networking with other writers, using freelance job boards, and reaching out to content marketing agencies.

How much can I earn as a freelance writer?

Freelance writing income varies based on factors like experience, expertise, and the type of projects you undertake. Rates can range from a few dollars per article to hundreds of dollars for longer pieces.

How do I set freelance writing rates?

Setting freelance writing rates involves considering factors like your experience, the project’s complexity, word count, and the value you bring to the client. Research industry standards and adjust accordingly.