How to Start a Successful Magazine Writing Career – 6 Freelancing Tips

These tips for starting (and sustaining) a successful magazine writing careeer are from published authors, freelance writers, bloggers, and editors. Even if you’ve been selling articles to magazines for years, I can almost guarantee you’ll learn something new here!

Before the tips, a quip:

“Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being,” said A.A. Milne.


That’s my goal: to keep collecting money as a freelance writer and blogger. If you want to earn a living as a writer, read How to Become a Fulltime Freelance Writer: A Practical Guide to Setting Up a Successful Writing Business at Home. And, check out these six tips for successful freelance writers…

How to Start a Successful Magazine Writing Career – 6 Freelancing Tips

1. Rewrite, revise, and edit after a 24 hour break. “Like feeding Gizmo after midnight, there is one thing a writer should never do: Submit their article within 24 hours of writing it. Doing so may result in death (of your career). For the 24 hours after finishing your article avoid it like the bubonic plague. Don’t think about it, look at it, or even acknowledge things associated with it. After the time expires, come back and edit your work. You’ll be shocked at the mistakes you find or humor that you can add.” – Brandon J. Mendelso, publisher, author and freelance writer 

2. Do not give up!“Write and write and write some more.  Everyone gets better and better.  No on gets worse and worse.” – Kay Marshall Strom, author of 34 published books, numerous articles, and 2 movie scripts

3. Ask the right questions when interviewing sources. “My tip for a successful freelancing career is from when I was a reporter in Washington, D. C. When you’re done with interview, say: “What should I ask you that I didn’t?” You CAN’T believe some of the extra that you learn, often out of left field.” – Tom Peric, writer

4. Train your brain. “A writer’s most important tool is not a pen, tape recorder, computer or even the ability to write. A writer’s most important tool is his brain. You need to train it like an athlete trains her body. As a writer, you have to cut through the flab of all the information around. You need to question, question, question. What happened? Who does this affect? Why is this important? Critical thinking precedes good writing.” – Mark Grabowski, journalism professor

5. Find factual support. “My tip for a successful freelance writing career is to try to include at least one relevant and supporting statistic in every article.” – Michael Johns, writer and author  

Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published
Writer's Market 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published - Yes, you CAN get published! It's not impossible - but only if you're willing to do the work. Writer's Market 2020 offers thousands of opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards and literary agents — and even new playwriting and screenwriting sections.

6. Apply the Rule of 12. “My tip for successful writers keeps me productive and motivated. For example, come up with 12 different ways to say something; it will you keep your writing different and exciting. Send your work out to 12 different editors, someone just might like it. Write for 12 minutes a day, or 12 pages a week…whatever goal it takes to keep you going!” – Kimberly Llewellyn, aka “the Wedding Writer”  

If you have any questions or thoughts on these tips for successful freelancers, I welcome your comments below!   


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