What I Learned From My First Month As A Magazine Writer

I started writing for magazines in the summer of 2019. Being a reporter has always been a dream of mine, and it’s been an incredible experience so far. I’ve learned some valuable lessons about what it takes to get hired as a writer and how to improve my writing skills. Here are just some of those lessons!

My First Year as a Writer: 10 Lessons Learned – YouTube
1. Embrace the Learning Curve: Expect challenges and be open to learning from them to improve as a magazine writer.
2. Understand Your Audience: Tailor your writing to resonate with the magazine’s target readers and meet their preferences.
3. Time Management Matters: Plan your writing schedule efficiently to meet deadlines and avoid last-minute rushes.
4. Network and Collaborate: Connect with fellow writers and industry professionals to gain valuable insights and opportunities.
5. Pitch with Precision: Craft compelling and tailored pitches to increase your chances of getting your articles accepted.
6. Emphasize Storytelling: Develop engaging narratives that captivate readers and bring your magazine articles to life.
7. Handle Feedback Gracefully: Embrace constructive criticism and use it to refine your writing skills and style.
8. Stay Curious and Inquisitive: Explore diverse topics and stay curious to bring fresh perspectives to your magazine writing.
9. Develop a Unique Voice: Cultivate your distinct writing voice to stand out in the competitive world of magazine writing.
10. Celebrate Successes: Acknowledge and celebrate your milestones as a magazine writer to stay motivated and inspired.

Protect Your Calendar

Your calendar should be the only place that has a complete list of all your meetings and appointments. This will allow you to know what’s coming up in your schedule, and also help you avoid scheduling conflicts.

I use Google Calendar for this purpose, but there are plenty of other options out there (Calendar+ is another popular one). If you choose to use someone else’s calendar, just make sure it integrates with the rest of your workflow so that it doesn’t become an additional burden when the time comes to use it.

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Share Your Work

When you’re first starting, it can be difficult to know if your work is any good. It’s easy to get discouraged by the rejection letters that come in, but if you keep working hard and do the best job you can, chances are good that people will want to share your stories with their friends.

Take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter by sharing links to articles that you’ve written. If a story catches on or gets lots of shares, it will be seen by more people than if only a few people read it online or receive an email from one person with a link attached (though this can also help).

When sharing stories online through social media or emailing them around, try not just sending them off into cyberspace without putting some thought into how they’ll reach new readers. For example, You might want to search for groups related to topics covered in your article and post there; or send emails directly to other publications that cover similar ground.

Follow Up With Editors You’d Like To Work With

After you’ve worked on an assignment, send a follow-up email. This can be as simple as a quick note saying thank you for the opportunity and that you hope to work with them again soon. 

More importantly, make sure to include your name and contact information so they know how to reach you if they need anything else from you in the future. You might also include some ideas on what other topics or assignments they could assign to their writers if they want more content from them.

Another option is to call them on the phone (or even text message). Your editor may not necessarily have time for this but it never hurts to try! 

If calling isn’t possible then another great option is sending a gift in addition to an email just make sure it’s something small enough not to overwhelm them with clutter but still show appreciation for their time and attention during your interview process.

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Keep The Ideas Coming

The most important lesson I learned over the past month is to keep the ideas coming. If you have just one idea, that’s great! But if you don’t have a lot of ideas and they aren’t coming easily, try keeping a notebook or an app on your phone where you can jot down any thoughts that pop into your head. 

Even if they seem stupid at first (you might think, “Who would even read something about why people love dinosaurs?”), write them down anyway; sometimes those seemingly silly ideas turn into great stories when fleshed out and written about in depth.

Another thing I recommend doing is thinking about something that interests you personally—for example, if you’re really into science fiction movies or video games from the 1980s, try writing about those topics for a while before moving on to other things. 

Chances are there are plenty of people who share these interests with you and if there aren’t yet? Well then maybe now’s a good time for some research on how best to reach out to them!

Remember: There’s no rush here; we’re not trying to earn a living as writers today–we’re just messing around with our pens until we feel like stopping!

Pitch, Pitch, And Pitch Some More

The best way to get your ideas published is by pitching them. But pitching is a skill that can be learned, and it’s one that you’ll spend plenty of time honing as a writer. The concept is fairly simple: send your ideas whether they’re essays or op-eds or whatever else to editors via email, phone call, or even in person at conferences. 

There are no hard-and-fast rules about when you should pitch something, but my general rule of thumb has been this: if I have an idea for an article, I should pitch it immediately because the longer I wait, the more likely I am to lose interest in writing it down on paper (or into Word). 

And really, who wants that? If nothing else comes from this month as a magazine writer then knowing how important it is not only to pitch but also how much fun it can be hoping you’ll learn something else too!

As a magazine writer, honing your craft is essential to produce captivating articles. Check out our list of 15 Tips for Better Magazine Writing to enhance your skills and create engaging content that resonates with readers.

Stay Organized

I have to admit, I’m not great at staying organized. But you must do. You need to be able to see your progress and keep track of the things you’ve done, so that way you can check off what needs to be done next.

There are plenty of ways you can stay organized: use a calendar and notebook or spreadsheet; create a To-Do list on your phone or computer; use a project management app like Trello or Asana (or both!).

Craft A Great Headline

Craft a great headline. A good headline can make your article stand out from the rest on an editor’s desk, and it should be clear about what you’re writing about. It should also be relevant to the reader, topic, publication, and audience. And finally, it should be relevant to you as well meaning that it reflects your voice and style as an author.

Don’t forget to proofread! Even if you’re not trying to sell something or promote yourself as a writer (as I’m not), it still pays off in terms of credibility when others think that what they read was written by someone who cares enough about their work not just to write but also put in the extra effort required for editing before sending anything out into the world.

Read Articles On Similar Topics Before Writing Yours

I read a lot of articles before I wrote my first one. I read the best, worst, and everything in between. I also read some of the best of the rest (and some of those are pretty good).

Don’t just read articles on similar topics as yours; try to learn from other fields too. If you write about tech, read about business, and listen to conversations people have in their free time and at work. You might be able to incorporate some useful insight into your writing or even find stories that would make great topics for your website or blog!

Be Flexible

When I started at this magazine, I was told that my articles would be published the first week of every month. When I sat down to write my first article, however, it became obvious that this wasn’t going to work out. 

The data they gave me didn’t add up and couldn’t be used in the article they wanted me to write so they asked me if I could change the subject matter of my article and write something else instead. And with no hesitation at all, I said yes! 

Because being flexible is one of the most important things you can do as a writer – it means you’re always open to new ideas and ready for anything!

Write For Yourself First, And Then For Your Audience

In my first month as a magazine writer, I learned that writing is an act of communication. You’re not just expressing yourself or your opinions you’re inviting people into your mind and your world. That means you have to be willing to say what you truly think, feel, and believe.

If you want people to read what you write (and trust me: everyone does), then it needs to be something worth reading. If it isn’t about something you care about deeply enough for those feelings to come through in what you write if the words don’t evoke any feelings at all then why should we bother taking up space with them?

You want people who read what you write because they are genuinely interested in hearing from someone with new ideas on a subject matter they find interesting or important; not because they feel obligated or obligated by peer pressure from others within their social circles.

So above all else: write for yourself first, then for your audience

Becoming a successful magazine writer requires dedication and continuous improvement. Discover 13 Tips That Will Make You a Better Magazine Writer to learn from seasoned professionals and elevate your writing career to new heights.

Start Pitching Now

You will be rejected. A lot. You will also get a lot of “I’ll take it” and “thanks for sending us your pitch, we’ll keep you in mind.” The trick is to find the balance between pitching too much and not enough.

I recommend starting with a few magazines that are small but have an audience you are interested in writing for (or ones whose editors you’d love to write for). Send three-five pitches per magazine each month for the first six months after getting your feet wet. 

After that, increase it by one if you’re still getting responses from editors/magazines with every pitch sent out (and adjust accordingly as needed).

Did I mention how excited I am that this worked? Two days later I received two emails inviting me back to contribute more regularly!

Meet Deadlines

The first month of my new writing career was a bit of a learning experience. It helped me see that if you want to be successful as an author, it’s important to meet deadlines.

The importance of meeting deadlines is obvious you don’t want your publisher or editor getting annoyed with you and deciding not to work with you anymore but it goes beyond that. Setting deadlines can help keep your productivity high, which means your readers will get better content more often!

It’s so simple: Just set a deadline for yourself, then stick to it. Make sure all your projects are on track by scheduling time in advance for editing and revising so that there are no surprises later on down the road (and hopefully no last-minute panic). If something unexpected comes up, mark it off as “unscheduled work” instead of trying to cram it into an already full day.

Make The Most Of Each Experience

It’s amazing how much you can learn from each experience good, bad, or otherwise. You can learn from your failures and successes alike. Even when things don’t go as planned, take a moment to assess what went wrong so that you can make adjustments for next time. 

When it comes to learning from other writers and readers, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Most people are more than happy to answer questions from newbies (or veterans) as long as they aren’t annoying about it. 

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my first month as a magazine writer it’s this: never underestimate the power of having an open mind!

Learn From The Best

As you begin your new career as a magazine writer, it’s important to learn from the best. But it’s also important to learn from the worst. You can learn a lot from your own experiences, but there are lessons that others have learned that you might not yet know about. You can also learn a lot by listening to other people’s stories and sharing their triumphs and defeats.

It’s easy for us writers who have only worked on smaller publications or blogs to think of ourselves as being at the top of our game when we get hired by large publications. However, we all have room for improvement and no matter how much experience you have writing professionally, there will always be ways that you could improve your craft even more!

If you dream of a lucrative writing career, our guide on How to Finding Your Six-Figure Writing Gig is a must-read. Explore different avenues and opportunities to maximize your earning potential as a magazine writer.


If you’re thinking about starting your writing career, I hope these tips will help you get started. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to be consistent with your pitches and keep them up! If one editor doesn’t respond, keep trying until someone does. 

You never know when one of those pitches could lead to something big and remember: all great magazines started small!

Further Reading

8 Lessons I Learned in My First Month as a Full-Time Freelance Writer: Gain valuable insights from a freelance writer’s experiences in their initial month of full-time freelancing.

15 Things I Learned in My First Year of Writing: Discover important lessons and tips learned during the first year of a writer’s journey.

Lessons I Learned from My First Year as a Freelance Writer: Learn from a freelance writer’s experiences and reflections after completing their first year in the field.


How did you adapt to full-time freelancing in the first month?

Adapting to full-time freelancing involved finding a structured routine, setting clear work boundaries, and diversifying my client base for steady income.

What were the biggest challenges you faced during your first year of writing?

The first year of writing presented challenges like overcoming self-doubt, handling rejection, managing time effectively, and maintaining consistent motivation.

How did you handle the financial aspect of freelance writing in the initial months?

In the early months, I set financial goals, managed my budget meticulously, and negotiated fair rates with clients to ensure a stable income stream.

What are some strategies you used to stay productive and motivated as a freelance writer?

To stay productive and motivated, I created a conducive work environment, established daily writing goals, and joined writing communities for support and inspiration.

How did you build a strong portfolio and attract clients during your first year as a freelance writer?

During my first year, I focused on building a diverse portfolio by writing for various niches and used social media and online platforms to showcase my work and attract potential clients.