If you're anything like me at the moment, and like a lot of people out there, you might be a bit short of cash. This can spell trouble for a writer, particularly when they need to buy magazines and analyse them to be able to pitch ideas to the editor. Magazines can be expensive, but they are worth the investment. But having no spare cash to buy them can be a huge stumbling block - an article writer needs access to magazines if they are to keep their writing business afloat. I would say they they are as essential to a writer as a notebook and pen or a computer. It is only by reading several back copies and a recent copy of a magazine that you can truly get the flavour of it and be able to pitch your ideas appropriately. So what do you do if you can't afford to buy magazines?
* Share: get a couple of your writing friends together and each of you buys a different magazine, analyses it and then you swap over.
* Shelf surf: go into a large newsagents with a note book, or use your voice recorder or recording device in your mobile phone and flick through a couple of magazines noting down pertinent points that will enable you to hone your ideas and construct the perfect pitch.
* Dead time: sitting in your doctor's or dentist's waiting room is dead time - nothing happens. It's such a waste - but it needn't be. Take advantage of the time and read the magazines on the table. Now, I know they may not be in date, but sometimes they are only a couple of months old and they can be a goldmine of information for you. Even the older ones will give you a sense of what has been published before and you may be able to update the articles - rewrite them and make them your own to pitch. It's recycling at its best!
* Be cheeky: ring up the mag and ask for a back copy or two. You may even get them for free!
* Look out at car boot sales, jumble/attic sales or charity shops. They sometimes have piles of magazines and some of them aren't that old!
*See Simon Whaley's blog posting on a couple of Internet sites where you can buy single copies of magazines rather than go for the full subscription.
* Ask friends, colleagues or family to pass on their old magazines to you when they've finished with them.
Buying magazines is not a luxury for a writer, it is a necessity. But there is more than one way to get hold of them without forking out a small fortune.