This November, we’ve been kicking our live events into high gear with a new series of weekly webinars, travel writer focus groups around the world, a half-day workshop in London, and a weekend-long Pitchapalooza in our writing retreat center in New York.

In our live events, we use propriety worksheets to teach travel writers to walk through the same steps of generating, refining, and matching ideas that we do together in our workshops one their own at home.

One of the most powerful things that we do is teach people to think like an editor and get out of their own heads and their attachment to ideas and really begin to see the fit both with a specific magazine and it’s audience and with a print publication as opposed to a blog.

These eight steps of triage questions are one of my favorite techniques for making sure that your article idea is actually ready to send to an editor and deserves to make it into a magazine so that your pitches have the highest chance of success possible.

Try them on your ideas and let me know how it goes!

  1. Do I have a topic rather than an article idea? Is it encyclopedic or is there a story to tell with a point at the end?
  2. Does this idea have an attention grabbing hook that makes people want to know more…even if they’re not already interested in the topic.
  3. Double check: Is this idea interesting to someone besides me? (The “tell a friend” test”)
  4. Is there something timely about this idea? If not, dig something up. Openings, anniversaries, major upcoming events.
  5. Is this idea too topically or regionally specific for the size of the magazine? Should it be a basket of kittens?
  6. Have I done research to make sure this idea is 100% valid? No businesses closing or going up for renovation?
  7. Does this idea exactly fit one section of the magazine? Have I explained how in my pitch?
  8. Am I shoehorning the idea into the section? How can I make it a perfect fit?

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