1. Choose a magazine and study it
The first thing to do is select the publication you are interested in writing for. What kinds of articles do they publish? How long are they? How are the articles laid out? Are they more academic and research based or are they more about sharing thoughts and classroom experiences? Do most of the articles have a long list of references? Make sure your topic is something that fits within the magazine's scope and isn't repeating something that was published recently, then read the submission guidelines carefully.
This is a tip I give to anyone writing for publication, whether it is a letter to the editor in a local newspaper or a scientific journal article: Make sure your manuscript looks like articles that have been successfully published. This means the length, the tone, the format, and even style choices like serial commas and British/US spelling. If the format doesn’t match the editor’s expectation, it’s probably going to be rejected unless the content is so good that is makes up for it. Even then, the editor is likely to ask for revisions.
2. Write for a target reader
Think about who will be attracted by your title and read your article. Does the title accurately portray the benefits your article is offering? Your reader will most likely be a less experienced teacher or a teacher who is interested in new ideas for their classes. Focus on sharing what worked for you and make sure you clearly lay out what the reader will need to do to duplicate your success in their classes. Explain your teaching situation so the reader can determine if they will need to make any adjustments to implement your ideas.
3. Outline your ideas
It is very hard for me to start writing without planning what I want to say. I need to outline my thoughts on paper (yes, actual paper) and make sure I have a clear plan for what I want to share and enough content to make it worthwhile. I try to assemble my main points or tips as bullet points and find a way to make them flow together. Writing from an outline also allows me to focus my concentration on clearly explaining my ideas for each subsection instead of being distraction by trying to make sure the whole article is tied together while I’m writing.
4. Take your time
It is important not to rush and fire off your first draft. Put it away and look at it again after a day or two (or seven). Try to absorb the article with fresh eyes and imagine that you are someone who is trying to learn from it. What might not be clear to someone who is new to your topic? What could explained more succinctly? Is your tone consistent? Ask a colleague to look it over and give feedback. Hopefully they will also catch your typos. Thanks, Michael F.
5. Send the article with a short email
I usually keep my submission emails short. In fact, they are rarely more than three sentences but the one I never leave out is the one that explains how I feel the article can benefit the magazine’s readers. I find that this helps the editor approach the article with a more positive attitude. This has been the case for me both as a writer and an editor.
It feels great to see something you wrote in print or published on a popular website. I have had good luck with magazines like English Teaching Professional, Modern English Teacher, EFL Magazine, and KOTESOL’s The English Connection. Regular publications are always looking for new content so if you have a creative idea to share with your fellow educators, follow these tips and you should see your article in print in no time.