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Magazine Writer

How to Become a Magazine Writer


What do Magazine Writers Do?

Magazine writers are, in essence, journalists. That said, the kind of journalism that magazine writers do can vary widely from what a journalist working on a daily newspaper would produce.

Generally, magazine writers do more feature-oriented pieces. Some magazine writers focus on smaller stories, while others produce long-form, or narrative, pieces.

How Do You Get a Job As a Magazine Writer?

Full-time positions as magazine writers are some of the most coveted in the print media world. Some lucky -- and of course talented -- magazine writers take positions as staff writers. Staff writers usually work in the office and have a more 9-to-5 schedule. Other magazine writers have official affiliations with magazines and may have "at large" titles -- i.e. writer-at-large or editor-at-large -- which means they usually get assigned a certain number of stories for a set fee. At-large positions often require no time in the office.

The Freelance Life

Because of the nature of magazine writing, many magazine writers work as freelancers. Some have cushy at-large positions, while others may live assignment-to-assignment. Freelance magazine writers who don’t have steady gigs -- i.e. stories for a certain section that magazine editors regularly assign to them -- can find it stressful to constantly be chasing assignments. Some full-time freelance magazine writers find success pitching stories, but many rely on editors to assign them pieces. And the key to being a top-of-mind writer to editors is producing good, timely work. (For more on what makes a good magazine story, see this piece.)

Because so many freelance magazine writers rely on assignments from editors, many people who get into this field come from full-time jobs at magazines.

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