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Everything You Need to Know About Writing for a Magazine

If you’re in writing, you’re in sales. The trick is to find the sweet spot between pitching too high and too low. Too high, and you seem demanding; too low, and you seem desperate. You want to find a level that makes you seem authentic but not too much so that the editor doesn’t suspect you’re just trying to up-sale the piece. It’s a conundrum. The best advice I can give you is to find your story and stick to it.

The Pay Is Paltry

Let’s be honest: If you’re reading this, you probably already knew that magazine articles aren’t typically paid well. However, for some, like staff writers, it can be a decent living. But the trade-off is that you have to be willing to write a lot. While some may view this as a positive, I think that it can be a heavy burden. After all, if you’re not writing for your own entertainment, then what is it that you’re doing? Is this something that you can commit to? If not, then why are you doing it? It’s a common complaint among freelancers that they have to take on extra work to make ends meet. This becomes even more difficult if you have a family. Although some may see this as a positive, I think that it can be a burden for those who have young children. What kind of future does this magazine article write provide for your family? How much longer can this go on? These are important questions to ask yourself before you dive into writing for a magazine. More and more, I’m seeing writers turn down opportunities to write for magazines because they don’t want to be a financial burden to their families. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed if independent media is going to continue thriving.

The Work-Life Balance Is Abysmal

If you’re in writing, you’ll most likely be working hard. Some may even call you a jack of all trades, but I think that there’s a better title for you: World’s Greatest Writer. When you’re not working, you’re probably working hard. Even when you think that you’re taking a break, you’re still working hard. Because of this, your life will be in constant flux. Sometimes, you’ll be working till midnight, hauling your exhausted body to bed. At other times, you’ll be up till the crack of dawn, frantically trying to meet a deadline. As a writer, this is what you signed up for. I get it. But what is normal? You never really get a break. This is especially frustrating if you’re trying to combine work and family. You may be able to sneak in a date here and there, but it’s not going to be easy. When you’re in writing, everything is about the work. There is no life outside of the page. This is something that you have to get used to if you want to make it in this industry.

Who’s Going To Review It?

Even if you’re used to getting your work published (and even if you’re not), it’s still nerve-wracking when your article is going to be reviewed by someone else. This is especially stressful if you’re a new writer and the editor doesn’t seem particularly fond of your work. In some cases, the fear of getting a bad review is so great that it paralyzes writers. They’ll avoid controversy at all costs, even if this means losing the good will of their audience. Sometimes, it’s better to be bold and write what you think, even if this means that your work will be subjected to harsh criticism. Or, you can put your head down and keep writing, knowing that eventually, your work will be found acceptable. The best advice I can give you is to pick your battles. If you think that this piece is going to be subjected to particularly harsh criticism, then it may be better to skip it. But, if you think that it’s a good piece that will inspire debate, then it may be better to risk being labeled a troublemaker and make any necessary revisions. In this industry, there is no such thing as a good review. They’re all either good or bad. There is no in-between. This is something that you have to get accustomed to if you want to be a successful writer.

There Are No Short-Lived Bonuses

This may be stating the obvious, but it’s important to point out that there are no short-lived bonuses in writing. When you finish an article, that’s it. Unless you write a second one, or the magazine decides to re-publish it. So, while it may be nice to get a bonus for selling a certain amount of unit or getting a piece reviewed, this is not typically the case. Especially in today’s world, where the digital nomad lifestyle is popular, getting a bonus for selling in-demand creative works is more common than you’d think. However, these aren’t typically long-term opportunities. You’re not typically going to get a bonus for selling x number of copies of a magazine or attracting y number of visitors to a website. These are all one-time transactions. The best that you can typically expect is a small gratuity. Which, let’s be honest, isn’t even that great. This is one of the main reasons why magazines aren’t typically a good choice for writers. It’s a lot of work for such little pay. The short-lived nature of these gigs makes them perfect for digital nomads or freelancers, who are constantly looking for new opportunities. But if you’re looking for stability, then stick to traditional publishing. It’s a better choice for writers, in general.

The Competition Is Great

It’s no secret that competition is high in this industry. Even if you think that your work is perfect, you’re still going to have to fight for a spot in a magazine. The best option is to find a publication that’s relevant to where you are in your writing career. For example, if you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking for your first big break, then seek out literary magazines that focus on student life. Alternatively, if you’ve been writing for a while and want to find a new challenge, then look for a magazine that’s focused on a subject matter that you’re already familiar with. This can make a difference in terms of your article’s quality. Your work will have more value since you’re not trying to completely reinvent the wheel. If you can find a publication that focuses on something that you’re an expert in, then this is definitely a good option. But, if this is something that you’re not familiar with, then seek out a publication that specializes in your area of expertise. These are just a few tips on how to choose the best magazine for your writing career. The key is to find one that you think will give your work the best shot at being published. And when you finally do find this mystical grail, then rejoice because you’ve found a home. Your work will be judged highly, and you’ll be able to look back on a long and successful writing career. Just remember: Sometimes, the perfect article just doesn’t fit the format of the magazine. Even if you’ve written something remarkable, it may not be the best choice for the magazine. So, be ready to make some revisions if necessary. Sometimes, the perfect article is just too perfect.