It's time to get those magazines out and shamelessly trawl them for inspiration. Are you forever flicking through magazines saying, 'I could have written that!' Well why didn't you? is the question you should be asking yourself. If another writer has got their piece in that magazine and it's on a topic you know you can write about then it's time to come up with other ideas, get pitching and see your name in there instead!
Once I have an idea for a magazine article, I write a spidergram with the main theme in the centre and legs with relevant comments coming off it. This helps me to see the bigger picture as well as the possible angles I could take with the article. It also serves as a memo for me to include certain points in the final pitch.
Once I've exhausted the theme and can fit no more legs on my piece of paper, I try and hone it down and pick an angle that I think would best interest the readers of the mag and its editor. I pick out the main points I will be including in the article and seek out potential experts for quotes, noting the kind of expert I want and possible sources.
Then the hard work starts! I start the pitch and then leave it for a day or two to mature - often other more interesting and pertinent comments will come to me in that time period which I can then add when I return to it. I then edit it a couple of times and when I'm sure it's as tight and as alluring as it can be, I send it off.
That's how I do it and it seems to work well in the most part for me. Of course, as a writer, I cannot possibly know whether the editor has recently commissioned a similar article to the one I'm pitching or not, but if it's along the right lines but a no this time, I have to make sure I hit the mark next time by reading the magazine more closely and paying attention to the editor's comments on my last pitch - if there are any.
Happy pitching! Let us know how you get on.