Two Helpful Resources for Magazine JunkiesPosted: January 9, 2008
It was a dark and stormy Saturday night, but that didn’t deter me from my planned trip to Barnes & Noble to buy the newest issue of Writer’s Digest. Even though I’ve been reading WD for years, I’m not a subscriber. I prefer to pick up my copies at the newsstand.
That’s because I’m a magazine junkie at heart. I check each week to see what new publications are on the newsstand. I spend time dreaming through the pages of travel magazines. I flip through computer publications, yearning for the newest technology. I mentally remodel our living room and plan a stunning backyard setting like those I find in home-and-garden magazines. I study the news magazines to pick up any morsels of news I’d not previously seen in my daily paper or on the Internet. Then, since much of my work involves writing about business, I turn to the business publications to see what they’re covering this week. It’s a rare trip when I don’t come away with a dozen ideas for articles I’d like to write.
On this night, I picked up the newest Writer’s Digest, plus Writer’s Yearbook 2008 and The Writer, and moved to a nearby bench that was already occupied by a woman with three cooking magazines on her lap. As she moved over a bit to make room for me on the bench, one of her magazines slid to the floor — a slick publication with celebrity chef Paula Deen on the cover. As she picked up the magazine, the woman leaned toward me and remarked, “Don’t you just love Paula Deen? She’s wonderful! It’s a marvel to me how she puts so much butter and mayonnaise into everything she cooks.”
But I wasn’t interested in conversation or cooking. Writing is what brought me here and I was not to be deterred, so I just smiled and turned away, opening my Writer’s Digest, trying to decide which article I’d favor most this month. In every issue, I find something that helps me become a more confident writer, take a new path, learn how famous writers produce their work, or hone a writing skill.
And there it was on page 32, what I needed this month, an article about writing a book. “Baby Steps,” by Bill O’Hanlon. Plus there were two more articles about writing books in the issue. Only this morning I had confided to another writer that through more than 25 years writing for magazines, what I’d always wanted to do was write a novel. I still do.
O’Hanlon’s article was written to help writers stop obsessing about writing a book and just do it. Break it down into small tasks, he says, break the mental barrier, develop your identity as a writer. The blurb says, “Spend 15 minutes writing one page, five time a week for a year.” Now that I think I could do.
I don’t know how long WD has been in business, but I do know that it does a fine job of answering questions, solving quandaries, and generally supporting and inspiring writers to practice the craft, to persevere. There’s also an online version, writersdigest.com, that, like the print publication, is also helpful for writers, both published and aspiring.
Along with selected articles from the print version, the website offers writing exercises, blogs, market listings, a searchable database of guidelines, and a free newsletter that can be delivered to your inbox. If you’re as big a magazine junkie as I, you’ll find that both the web site and the print version are great resources for your writing.
And if you happen to be at a certain Barnes & Noble anytime soon and see a short, graying, grandmotherly-type woman flipping through the pages of nearly every publication on the newsstand, then carefully choosing several writing mags to buy, that’s probably me, the magazine junkie, indulging in my passion for magazines. Again.
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©2008 by Laverne Daley