Writing articles. Where do you start? Does the idea or the potential market come first? It's like the proverbial chicken and the egg isn't it! Do you buy a magazine first, do the necessary research: read it cover to cover and come up with an idea that's worth pitching to the editor? Or do you have the idea then go and find a magazine that might offer a potential market for your idea? It can all seem a bit random.
Well both have their charms and devils. I find that I often get my best ideas when I'm leafing through a magazine, but I also have some great ideas when I'm wandering around, minding my own business too! So, for me, either of the two methods works well. But if you're just starting out, picking out a magazine (along with a few recent back copies) is a good starting point.
Once you've been writing for a while and know a few different markets well, you begin to develop a nose for what would make good content for those magazines. But, as a newbie, it's essential to do the leg work and study the markets thoroughly - it's the only way you'll get to know what the editor and readers' preferences are.
Plus, buying magazines is a good excuse to put your feet up, have a cuppa and relax - no-one will dare complain because you are 'doing research!'
Happy researching and do let us know of any successes, near misses or pitches you send out.