Dear About.com, I have a collection of personal essays that I feel are publishable- at least on par with some of those that appear in leading women's magazines. However, I assume you can't simply pitch the "idea" of your essay, can you?
You're right about that. Personal essays aren't pitched like traditional magazine stories. Instead, most magazines want to see the actual essay straight out, start to finish. If you're not familiar with the magazine, pick up a copy to make sure it has an outlet for essays (hint: check the last page). Then, read the magazine's website or the latest Writers Market for specifics (how to submit, word counts, subject suggestions). Last, but certainly not least, be sure to polish the heck out of your essay before submitting it! You've only got one shot at catching that editor's eye.