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Writing For Magazines
If you want to make it as a professional writer, you will eventually need to be branch out into the world of magazines. While many new writers are intimidated by the major magazines and editors, it is important to realize that they are not so different from any other publication. Aside from the fact that they print monthly, most magazines are just looking for knowledgeable writers who have a passion for their subject. If you want to write for magazines, or any other publication, simply write what you know and the rest will fall into place. As you progress through your career, you may want to experiment with subjects that require research. The best approach to writing for magazines is to scour the supermarket for a few magazines that cover a favorite sport, hobby or subject that you are most knowledgeable about.
Pick up a few copies and browse through the table of contents page. There is generally a tab featuring the names of editors, along with a mailing address for the magazine, a website and perhaps an e-mail address. Contact the editors directly and inquire about writing for their publication. If requested, send samples of your work and several ideas for a column that you would like to write. It isn't necessary to have previously published work samples, but it may help to show the editor that other publications, including local newspapers, have published your work.
When speaking to magazine editors, always remember to be yourself. If you try to sound a certain way that you think editors want to hear, they will see right through the disguise. Magazines naturally invoke intimidation, but editors are just people too. Be personable and friendly, laugh if something is funny and speak to them as you would an old friend. If they like who you are, they will like your writing. The people who read magazines are people just like you and they want to read something written by a genuine person. If you have trouble launching your career in the world of magazines, or cannot quite convince the editor to give you a try, don't give up. Start with smaller magazines and work your way up to the top. In some cases, it may even help to write several free articles just to get your foot in the door. This will provide you with previously published work samples and a background in writing.
A final thought when writing for magazines relates to dealing with rejection. There are some editors who are as nice as your next door neighbor and others who are not. Just as with any career, there are good and bad jobs and bosses. The trick is to accept rejection, whether put nicely or not, and move on. In the world of magazines, there is a lot of competition and it takes work to get noticed. Learn from criticism, grow from it and allow it to make you a better writer. At the same time, don't be afraid to stand up for your work. Know that there is always room for improvement, but be proud of what you have done thus far.
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