Tips for Writers

Regular readers of this blog know that Writer’s Digest is high on my list of must-read publications. They also know I prefer to buy my copies of the magazine at Barnes & Noble, rather than subscribing (so I can check out new magazines on the newsstand and survey what’s being covered in others). I am never disappointed in WD. I always find nuggets or larger chunks of useful information.

When I picked up the August 2008 WD, an article in the Inkwell column immedately caught my attention — “Don’t Be a Diva.” Written by author Mary E. Demuth (Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God and Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture), “Don’t Be a Diva” offers 18 tips to endear you to editors, agents and others who can help your writing career.

Everything on her list of tips is worth noting, and I was particularly interested in “Number 11: Become a Lifelong Learner of The Craft,” because of this advice:

Go to conferences. Read great books. Read outside your genre. Go to lectures. Take a class. Try new things. Grow, grow, grow.”

In an earlier age, writers may have sat alone in garrets penning their prose. Today, smart writers know that following Number 11 can expand their horizons, keep them aware of what’s going on in the world, and help them become more successful writers. In fact, I think it would be hard to be successful as a writer without following much of the advice in Number 11.

And here’s a tip of my own. I’m frequently pressed for time, so I take Writer’s Digest (or another writing magazine) with me on my twice-weekly trips to the gym. With the magazine propped up before me on the treadmill, I can spend 30 minutes each time I go, surveying market lists, finding ideas for articles, and getting advice from Mary E. Demuth and other writers and editors, who all share their expertise in the pages of Writer’s Digest. It’s a win-win situation: I can follow my exercise routine and be a more productive freelancer at the same time.

© 2008 by Laverne Daley

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