What I Miss Most About Magazine Writing

I spent almost 10 years as a magazine writer, and during that time, I wrote about everything from parenting to food to sex. What I loved most about my job was the way it mixed two things that are not exactly known for mixing well: discipline and creativity. 

Writing required both an ability to produce consistent work on deadline while also being willing to explore every new idea with an open mind. After all, what is better than getting paid to do what you love? 

But even if you’re not writing professionally (or aren’t interested in doing so), there are still things we can learn from the structure of this kind of work namely how discipline can help us achieve our creative goals by keeping them focused on what matters most at any given moment.

The tension between knowing a lot and knowing nothing at all.

How to Submit to Literary Magazines – YouTube
1. The unique thrill of seeing your work in print.
2. Building connections with readers and colleagues.
3. Exploring diverse and fascinating topics.
4. Nurturing creativity through storytelling.
5. Embracing the challenges of deadlines.
6. The sense of accomplishment in each published piece.
7. Staying updated with the ever-changing media landscape.
8. The joy of receiving reader feedback and engagement.
9. Collaborating with talented photographers and designers.
10. The satisfaction of uncovering hidden stories and perspectives.

Knowing A Lot About A Subject

In magazine writing, it’s not just about having an interesting story to tell. It’s also about knowing the right questions to ask and being able to find answers. This means that you have a strong base of knowledge on which to build your story.

If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a magazine writer, our comprehensive guide on starting a career in magazine writing will show you the essential steps and tips to get you on the right path.

Knowing Nothing About A Subject

You are constantly forced into learning new things in order to do your job well, which can be both frustrating and exhilarating! 

It’s frustrating because sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day for all of the reading and research necessary before publishing your piece but it’s exhilarating because every new topic brings with it an opportunity to learn something new, which leads me back around again…

Knowing how (and when) to ask questions: You need this skill so that you know where gaps exist in your reporting process; these are areas where additional research will strengthen an article. 

You also need this skill so that you know where the reader might feel lost or confused while reading through their copy (or even after reading through their copy). Having these two skills helps keep everyone happy with their final product.”

The Adrenaline Rush That Comes With A Deadline

I miss deadlines. I know, I know: You probably think I’m a lunatic for saying that. Deadlines can be stressful and contentious, but there’s no denying the high you get from working toward one and then hitting it or not.

I once wrote an essay about Dolly Parton for a music magazine; it was due the day after my birthday, a date that suggested to me that this was going to be one of those stories where I had everything but the ending figured out before sitting down at my laptop on December 30th. Which turned out to be true, sort of. 

In my defense, I had written most of the essay when my computer froze up while trying to send it off via email—and this happened on December 29th, which meant that all of my work would have been lost if not for some quick thinking by my editor (she saved me) and some kind of divine intervention (the power came back on).

The Satisfaction Of Seeing Your Finished Words In Print

You’ll also get to see your finished piece in print, which is a great feeling. You have put so much time, energy, and effort into the creation of this story and now it’s ready for the world to read! 

It can be nerve-wracking when you hand over your work for others to judge, but once it goes live online or hits newsstands (or both), it will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

You might even experience some pride around your writing from strangers who come across it online or in print. They might comment on how well-written it is or point out something that struck them as interesting about what was written. This kind of feedback can help boost self-esteem which is especially important if you need motivation for future projects!

Curious about the allure of magazine writing? Explore our article on 15 reasons to start a career in magazine writing to discover the exciting opportunities and benefits that await you in this field.

The Possibility That Someone Might Read It

You never know who will read your work. A few months after I’d written an article, I ran into a woman at a party who told me she’d read and liked it! It was one of those moments that made me remember why I do what I do. The thought that someone might be reading something you wrote is exciting, especially when they tell you how much they enjoyed it (or didn’t).

There are so many variables to this equation: You can never predict which pieces will resonate with people, who will read them, or what effect they’ll have on the writer or readers. 

Maybe everyone will hate the piece and tell their friends not to bother reading it; maybe no one will ever notice the article exists at all; maybe everyone will love it and start quoting from memory every time they see each other at parties and weddings for years afterward who knows?

Getting Paid

The biggest downside to being a magazine writer is that you don’t get paid. No matter how much work you put into it, how many hours go by, and how much knowledge or expertise you bring to the table, you don’t get paid for any of it. 

That’s because writing isn’t a job; it’s more like a hobby, or even worse a guilty pleasure. The truth is that most editors expect writers to work for free in exchange for exposure and the chance to be published (and maybe even featured in their favorite publication).

The Next Time Someone Asks If I Miss My Old Gig As A Freelance Magazine Writer, I’ll Be Sure To Tell Them No!

Knew I had a paycheck coming if I made the next one.

The best part of writing for magazines was the regular paycheck

When I started as a freelancer, I had no idea what to expect from my first paycheck. I knew that it would be a lot less than what I made at my day job, and that was fine by me because I didn’t want to give up my dream job yet. 

But after getting my first check, the reality of being self-employed set in My income wasn’t secure at all! Unless something really good happened (like someone offered me an editorial assignment), things were going to be pretty lean for quite some time and even if they weren’t lean, they could change pretty quickly on any given day or week. 

There was no guarantee that there would be enough money coming in so that I could pay all my bills on time or put aside money for savings or investments or whatever else people usually do with their hard-earned dollars (or Euros). 

This uncertainty led to some days when writing felt like work and other days when it felt like play; but regardless of how it felt on any given day, there was always this underlying concern about whether there would be enough money coming soon enough.

Unsure about where a magazine writing career can lead you? Learn about various potential paths in our insightful article on magazine writing career paths and find out which one suits your aspirations.

Having An Editor Who Could Explain Why I Needed To Make Changes

I missed having an editor.

Editors are your best friends in the world, who you talk to every day and who help you make your work better. They have a lot of experience, so they can tell you what not to do as well as what to do. 

They also know what your readers want (and don’t want), so they’re great at advising about how to shape an article or book proposal for maximum appeal. As someone who has been both editor and author, I can say that being edited by someone else is one of the most valuable parts of the process but only if it’s done well!

Getting Feedback, Even When It Was Hard To Hear

In the era of digital media, feedback is easier to get than ever. But it’s also easier to ignore, which can be a problem. 

I’ve written many pieces for this site and others over the years, and there are times when even I don’t know how well they’ve been received until it’s too late for me to make any changes. That’s where print magazines blew my mind: They gave me something I craved: instant feedback in real-time.

I used to feel like writing was such an isolating process a solitary pursuit without any direct input from readers (except maybe on social media). 

Getting immediate feedback from editors and peers helped me grow as a writer because they would give specific suggestions on how I could improve my work and sometimes they’d tell me what wasn’t working at all! 

Having someone tell you that your article was terrible isn’t easy; hearing constructive criticism can be tough! But thinking back on those moments now, I realize how valuable they were in helping my writing evolve…even if we both got frustrated sometimes!

Being Part Of A Community Of Writers, Artists, And Do-Ers

A writing community can help you to grow and support your work. It’s a place where you can share ideas, be challenged, and learn from other people. You’ll have conversations with them about what they’re working on and how they are developing their craft. You might even find that something they say sparks an idea for something new!

The more people who understand the challenges of writing, editing, freelancing, and publishing the more support there will be for those who are trying to make it in these fields.

Having an excuse to talk to interesting people and ask them questions, even if they were strangers at first.

You can learn a lot from talking to strangers. When I was first starting as a magazine writer, I didn’t know if my ideas were any good or if anyone would be interested in reading them. The only way I could find out was by asking questions and listening attentively when people answered.

Being open and friendly will make you less intimidating to the person you’re speaking with, which will make it easier for them to answer your questions honestly. It’s also important not to judge people based on their appearance or what they say; everyone has something interesting about themselves that they’d love for someone else to know about as well!

Eager to elevate your magazine writing career? Uncover valuable tips on finding your six-figure writing gig to turn your passion into a lucrative profession.

Meeting Deadlines In My Head Even If I Hadn’t Yet Met Them On Paper

Whether you’re a freelancer or an employee, meeting deadlines is a necessity for the business. Deadlines force writers to edit and revise their work more diligently than they might otherwise, which in turn creates better writing and allows them time for additional editing, which makes for even better writing still.

I would often push my deadlines further back than I should have because I was afraid of getting started on something new before finishing all my current tasks. 

Once I got into the habit of not pushing back my deadlines but doing what I could with each assignment as soon as it arrived, however, this problem went away entirely and I felt much happier about myself and my progress as a writer every single day!

Seeing My Work Through To The Final Product And Watching It Go Out Into The World

I would say the thing I miss most about magazine writing is seeing my work through to the final product and watching it go out into the world. There’s something satisfying about that, especially when you’re talking about a big project like an issue of your magazine.

I love getting to work with other people on what feels like a large-scale project. I feel like there’s more responsibility involved in magazine writing than other types of writing because you’re working alongside so many other people with their ideas and contributions, 

All coming together to create this one thing that’s bigger than any one person’s contribution alone could have been. 

And then once it’s done, there are these tangible objects that contain your words and thoughts like copies or digital versions that represent your work in the world at large…and even though they’re not yours anymore (you’ve moved onto another project), it still feels great knowing that they exist as part of who you are!

Waking up every morning with a sense of purpose about what I’d do that day and how I might help other people feel better about theirs.

When I was a magazine writer, I loved waking up every morning with a sense of purpose about what I’d do that day and how I might help other people feel better about theirs.

It’s not just the money (though it was wonderful to have more than enough). It’s not just the freedom (though it was great to know when my work day would be over). It wasn’t even just the fun (though there were moments of hilarity).

What truly made me love being a writer was that feeling every single morning for years on end that there was something important waiting for me. That mission, however small or big: To make someone else feel good about their life, or at least to let them know they weren’t alone in whatever struggles they were facing.

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a magazine writer? Get an insider’s view of a typical day in the life of a writer with our engaging article on magazine writing: a day in the life, where you’ll experience the joys and challenges of the profession.


I miss my old job. I miss it a lot. But I don’t want to go back to it, at least not in the way it used to be. It’s not just about reading magazines anymore it’s about reading about the world, experiencing it, and finding new ways of connecting with people through stories that speak directly from our hearts.

Further Reading

From Complete Beginner to Writing for Major Magazines: Discover the essential steps and tips to progress from a beginner to a published writer in major magazines.

JSTOR – How to Write a Compelling Magazine Article: Explore this academic article on writing compelling magazine articles, filled with insights and research.

How to Write and Sell Your Articles to a Newspaper or Magazine: Learn valuable strategies for writing and selling your articles to newspapers or magazines.


How can I improve my magazine writing skills?

To enhance your magazine writing skills, consider reading articles from diverse genres, taking writing courses, and seeking feedback from experienced writers.

What are some effective techniques to pitch my article to magazines?

Craft a concise and compelling pitch that showcases your unique angle, research the magazine’s audience and style, and personalize your pitch to the appropriate editor.

How can I increase my chances of getting published in a magazine?

Submit polished and well-edited work, follow submission guidelines carefully, and consider starting with smaller publications before targeting larger magazines.

How do I build a strong portfolio as a magazine writer?

Create a portfolio showcasing your best works, including published articles, writing samples, and any relevant credentials or awards.

How can I handle rejections in magazine writing?

Rejections are a natural part of the writing journey. Stay persistent, learn from feedback, and consider revising and submitting your work elsewhere.