How do I Become a Freelance Magazine Writer?

G. Wiesen

To become a freelance magazine writer, it can be helpful if you have an educational background in English or journalism, and experience writing for magazines or other publications. While experience may be difficult to come by, especially if you are just starting off as a new freelance writer, education can certainly help you make up for any deficiencies in practical work. Earning a degree in English or a related field can also help you learn to do research quickly and effectively, which is often an indispensable skill for a freelance writer. You should then look for opportunities to become a freelance magazine writer with various magazines and other periodicals, either with a particular focus or simply for an interest you have.

Magazine writers may gain experience working on a blog.
Magazine writers may gain experience working on a blog.

Freelance magazine writers often work for one or more magazines, usually with some sort of contract or agreement, but without structured employment. To become a freelance magazine writer, you should consider trying to get either scholastic or practical experience in writing for magazines. If you already have some experience writing for one or more publications, this can often help you get work with another magazine, especially if your experience is with a prestigious publication. You may just be starting out, however, and likely wondering how to get your foot in the door with the first magazine.

Magazine writers typically have a bachelor's degree in English or journalism.
Magazine writers typically have a bachelor's degree in English or journalism.

This is where education can really help you. Even an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or a related field can help give you an edge over other people looking for freelance work. Since freelance writing is often performed through telecommuting, many people look at it as an easy and profitable way to work from home. This means that the market for freelance writers can be a bit crowded and having something on your résumé that demonstrates you have put some form of work, practical or educational, into becoming a writer can give you an advantage.

In either situation, you should first try to become a freelance magazine writer simply by looking for magazines or other types of publications that are looking to hire writers. You should make a résumé that demonstrates your experience and shows what skills or knowledge you have that can be useful. This is especially helpful if you are trying to get work in a specialized field or subject that you have extensive experience dealing with. Remember that your résumé is usually your introduction to another person for consideration for employment. Since you are trying to become a freelance magazine writer, you should ensure that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors to demonstrate that you know how to write clearly and concisely.

It can also be helpful to look for magazines or publications that deal with something you are actually interested in, as it is often easier and more interesting to write about something you care about. You should also have some writing samples that demonstrate your ability to write on a particular subject or at a certain level of quality. These can be articles you have written for other magazines, or short essays written for classes you have taken. In either case, they can help you become a freelance magazine writer by concretely demonstrating your ability to write well, and provide a real sense of what a publisher or editor can expect from your writing.

Freelance magazine writers must be able to write on deadline.
Freelance magazine writers must be able to write on deadline.

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