SCWW Conference Faculty Guest Post: Helen Aitken

Ten Reasons to Try Newspaper or Magazine Writing by Helen Aitken

Helen Aitken

Sometime in your writing career, an organization or charity will ask you to publicize an event. Perhaps a fellow author would like you to write a book review. Maybe you need publishing credits to establish a platform, or the thought of making a little money writing an article is appealing.

Writing for newspapers or magazines is beneficial to a writing career. In fact, there are more commonalities in newspaper and magazine writing, with nonfiction and fictional writing than you think. Bottom line, practicing good writing is essential for all writing, and this media touches almost all genres.

1. Newspaper/magazine writing is succinct; extra prepositional phrases, clichés, adjectives, adverbs and passive verbs are usually omitted- a favorable trait in any writing.

2.  There is a designated word count. Each word must be necessary and editing is crucial.

3. Queries are an integral part of submissions. Sorry, you can’t get around them, but this is excellent practice for longer projects.

4. Magazine and Newspaper articles involve research and interviewing; find the right background information and experts for support, then listen for great quotes.

5. Articles go somewhere, just like manuscripts; use the same techniques to find agents and publishers.

6. Articles are read aloud from top to bottom, and bottom to top. We hear the rhythm and pace in the sentence length and structure, listening to the voice.

7.  Catchy titles attract the reader; the process is perfect for chapters and books.

8. Articles begin with action, pulling the reader in immediately. There may be drama, humor, light and heavy topics, heart-felt emotions and sensory stimulation. You determine the audience.

9. Getting clips with a byline boosts your self-confidence and propels you toward bigger goals, like manuscript publication.

10. Newspaper and magazine writing isn’t easy. It takes discipline, practice, and proficiency, which are basic skills for all writers.

In the end, it’s quite possible to get hooked on this kind of writing.


For more information on Helen, please visit her Faculty Bio here.

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