The Basic Steps of Writing a Magazine Article
For many writers, seeing their byline in a major magazine indicates they’ve reached the next level in their career. While it might seem intimidating to consider pitching editors and writing magazine articles, the process is pretty straightforward.
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Narrow Your Focus
Writers generally have no problem coming up with ideas, but you might need to whittle an idea down to make it a compelling story. If you’re thinking about writing an article on horses, that’s a very wide topic—it’s not really enough for a magazine article. But if you know of a horse rescue group that’s developed a new system to help owners who can’t afford feed for their horses, that’s the start of an article. Think about your audience to further refine your idea. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t sum up your article idea in one sentence, it’s not focused enough.
Outline Your Article
It might be tempting to jump into your writing and see where the story goes, but a better method is making an outline that you can use as a road map for your work. A detailed outline helps you spot places where your article needs work and will keep your story flowing smoothly. It’s much easier to fix issues in an outline than to wait until you’re editing your first draft.
Check Publication Guidelines
Before you get too deep into your article, think of two or three magazines you believe would be interested in your piece. Research their guidelines to get more information on what they’re looking for in articles. In many cases, a magazine will want a pitch first before agreeing to green-light your article. Writers Work offers a submission finder that contains a database of guidelines for online publications. Sign up to access this important resource.
Do Thorough Research
Everyone has heard the advice, “Write what you know.” Many writers interpret this to mean they shouldn’t write about anything they haven’t personally done, but that’s where research comes in. If you’ve decided to write that article about horse rescues, you may not know much about the work they do at first. After interviewing the staff, researching the cost of feeding horses, and doing more interviews with horse owners, you should be very familiar with your topic.
Take Extra Time With Editing and Proofreading
Nothing is worse than clicking “send” on an article only to find a typo in it immediately afterward. Use every resource you have to edit and proofread your work in painstaking detail. Set it aside for a few days before editing, ask a trusted friend to read it over, and use a grammar checker like the one Writers Work provides. No matter how good human eyes are, the new AI used in a grammar checker can save you embarrassment later.
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