I was thinking this afternoon about the small press publications that are out there. I think a lot of people overlook these as often they pay very little or nothing for contributions. From my point of view, okay, they may not pay but it's the ideal opportunity to get your work out there and read by people. It's also good practice and that leads to better quality work and can build your confidence to work up to sending your articles out to bigger publications.
Local community magazines are a good place to start and are often crying out for contributions to fill their pages. I get some of these magazines free through my letterbox every week, and I'm sure you do too. So, instead of throwing them straight in the recycling box read through them and get a feel for the type of topics they cover. Study the 'house' style and write something you have tailored specifically for them. Give the editor a ring, or send them an email to outline your article ideas. Build up a rapport with them and, if your work fits their remit, you may get other articles in the same publication. You can build up a portfolio in this way which can lead on to other opportunities.
Most importantly, do not make the mistake that as they are local and tend to have a smaller distribution than the larger, national magazines that they don't expect the same high standards - they do! Also don't give up. You have to be persistent in this game and be quick off the mark. Don't give up if one publication says no. They are not saying no to you personally, they are saying no to that one piece of work - so do look at the piece again, rejig it if you need to, and send it elsewhere.
Don't sit there brooding; take a look outside and see what's happening in your community, in your area. Is there anything going on that you can get an article out of. Think laterally and get a different angle to present to an editor. There's always something to write about, so don't be shy, and don't be too late! Get out there and get the material for your article. Get the article written and the proposal in to the editor before someone else does. I went to a Writers' Bash in Hereford on Saturday. I got home at 8pm and by 1030 pm my article was written, photos attached and emailed to the editor of The Link (The National Association Of Writers' Groups magazine) and it was accepted for publication the next morning! Seeing as the Writers' Bash involved the coming together of several local writers' groups in the area reading their work out I thought it would be ideal subject matter for the Link. On this occassion my speed and pitching the article to the right editor worked; it doesn't always but I'm getting better at it.
Any thoughts on article writing? What got you interested in article writing?