PDA

View Full Version : Best Magazine for Writing



acockey
01-06-2013, 09:19 PM
There is a few out there like Writer's Digest and "Poets and Writers"

What is your favorite? or do you not like them?

dangerousbill
01-06-2013, 09:36 PM
There is a few out there like Writer's Digest and "Poets and Writers"

What is your favorite? or do you not like them?

There aren't many out there that have something to teach me. Usually, the articles are a rehash of stuff I've read in books or in magazines of long ago. A lot of them are titled 'N Things You Need to Know to Snag/Hook an Agent', as if agents were like carp who only need to be shown something shiny before signing on.

What magazines do for me is give me an enthusiasm boost when I need it, even when I'm reading the same old advice, or a success tale of a writer who submitted his novel on a roll of Charmin and made ten million dollars.

From time to time, I get:
Writers Digest
Writers Forum (British; expensive in the US)
The Writer
Writers Journal

All are about the same in usefulness, although they may differ in range of content.

Writers Digest puts out some annual editions that can be helpful in keeping up with changes in the biz. But for that purpose, nothing beats reading contemporary novels or stories and hanging out with other writers. Here at AW, for example.

Linda Adams
01-06-2013, 10:35 PM
I personally like The Writer. It seems to focus better on a broad range of writing levels. Writer's Digest always feels like it's just covering beginning writer topics.

Chris P
01-06-2013, 10:56 PM
I don't use any, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in them; I just don't make use of any.

I participate here, check out the Basic Writing Questions, Grammar & Syntax, and Share Your Work forums, among others. I used to post a lot in Yahoo Answers, but I quickly realized there were only a few regulars there I could learn from, and a much higher concentration here. Now, I can more easily dissect why someone else's writing works for me, and try to use the same tools in my own writing. My writing has improved immensely since getting active at AW.

stormie
01-06-2013, 11:07 PM
When I first started out submitting my writing (way-y-y back in the days of early Internet), I had a one year subscription to Writer's Digest and found it very helpful in getting me started. Of course I ignored the ads in the back of the magazine, since most were for vanity publishers. From time to time back then, I bought The Writer. Since then, though, I haven't had much of a need for writers' magazines. The only magazine I'll buy occasionally now is Poets And Writers.

What we have now is a great writers' forum here on AW where everyone can learn something of value. I say this because it is well-moderated and AW seems to have more writers who are well-versed in all aspects of writing and submitting work than other boards I have visited over the years.

Susan Littlefield
01-07-2013, 06:51 AM
Love The Writer. Writers Digest is all right, but it seems more geared for new writers.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
01-07-2013, 09:00 AM
Can anyone clarify for me whether The Writer is available in digital format? I can't find anything definitive on their website.

Linda Adams
01-07-2013, 03:46 PM
Can anyone clarify for me whether The Writer is available in digital format? I can't find anything definitive on their website.

Definitely. I subscribe to it through the Nook.

quicklime
01-07-2013, 05:01 PM
just here, where I can see more threads and comments in a week than a year of magazine

theDolphin
01-07-2013, 05:22 PM
Don't know if this will be helpful, but lately, rather than focusing solely on magazines that are designed to teach, I've begun subscribing to magazines with consistently exceptional writing. I started subscriptions to the New Yorker and an online one to the Paris Review.

veinglory
01-07-2013, 08:09 PM
I have tried several copies of pretty much every writing magazine and found them to be uniformly useless. YMMV.

Jamesaritchie
01-07-2013, 08:37 PM
I haven't found one I don't like, and can't learn from. If I find one helpful article per year, let along per month, the magazine pays for itself ten times over, or more. And if I find just one market listing I can sell to, the magazine pays for itself all over again, and usually many times over.

This is another place where the library is your friend. Good libraries carry several writing journals, and more important, may have issues dating back decades. Our library has Writer's Digest, The Writer, and Poets & Writers going back almost to the beginning of each magazine, and I've read them all. Reading articles by and about writers long dead is fascinating, and a great learning experience.

Dgullen
01-07-2013, 08:41 PM
The Writer and Writers Digest are both good, both can teach you useful things at the right point in your writing life. As time went by I found there was less that was actively useful and more that seemed to be repetition or reworking of old themes come round again. For me it was time to move on, but they were useful and intersting magazines. Try them out and see what you think.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
01-08-2013, 05:13 AM
Definitely. I subscribe to it through the Nook.

Great, I'll keep looking :) Thanks!


Don't know if this will be helpful, but lately, rather than focusing solely on magazines that are designed to teach, I've begun subscribing to magazines with consistently exceptional writing. I started subscriptions to the New Yorker and an online one to the Paris Review.

I did the same. Getting the New Yorker on my iPad every week is heaven.

Linda Adams
01-08-2013, 03:41 PM
This is another place where the library is your friend. Good libraries carry several writing journals, and more important, may have issues dating back decades. Our library has Writer's Digest, The Writer, and Poets & Writers going back almost to the beginning of each magazine, and I've read them all. Reading articles by and about writers long dead is fascinating, and a great learning experience.

You're lucky. Our main library got its budget cut. Used to have an enormous magazine selection. Now we're down to about a third of that. The Writer and Publisher's Weekly went in that, and they never subscribed to Poets & Writers.

Jamesaritchie
01-08-2013, 06:34 PM
You're lucky. Our main library got its budget cut. Used to have an enormous magazine selection. Now we're down to about a third of that. The Writer and Publisher's Weekly went in that, and they never subscribed to Poets & Writers.

We are lucky, though part of it isn't luck. A few years ago, someone in the know realized that public funds couldn't support the library the way they should, so a push went on for private donors. Now budget cuts don't really harm our library because we have so many private donors that the library has expanded greatly in recent years.

Susan Littlefield
01-08-2013, 07:35 PM
We also have writing magazines going back several years at our library. I think they are archived once the year is over, though, so you can't check them out and must read them at the library. No matter, though, because if I could I'd bring my pillow and blanket to the library.

Tedium
01-08-2013, 08:38 PM
I haven't read much of The Writer, but Writer's Digest reminds me of Cosmo, if that makes sense. Recycled articles and top ten lists.

I don't know for a fact that any of it is recycled, but that's the vibe I get.

dangerousbill
01-08-2013, 10:09 PM
Editing a writing magazine must be a tough job, because the how-to of writing really doesn't change much from time to time. Most of the articles in The Writer and Writer's Digest resemble those I read in the 1950s and 1960s (yes, The Writer, if not WD, has been around that long).

Where a magazine can help is with (a) advice for new writers, which WD often publishes from time to time in special editions, like 'How to Write a Novel'.

The other value of magazines (b) is the 'what's new' stuff, like emerging trends, contests, up to date info on publishers, and interviews with contemporary writers. Much of the latter you can get online, but one of the better printed sources (in my opinion) is the UK 'Writer's Forum'. It's expensive in the US, though.

Jamesaritchie
01-08-2013, 10:59 PM
We also have writing magazines going back several years at our library. I think they are archived once the year is over, though, so you can't check them out and must read them at the library. No matter, though, because if I could I'd bring my pillow and blanket to the library.

Every library I've been to allows you to check out archived magazines, and without limit. It's odd that a library wouldn't allow archived magazines to be checked out. All you have to do is ask. Guess I'm just used to the way libraries work here. I've checked out ten years worth of The Writer and Writer's Digest at the same time.

Wd goes all the way back to teh twenties, and our library has all but the first four or five years. The ones from the thirties and forties are must reads. WD concentrated primarily on genre and pulp fiction back then, and all the writers of same are in the magazines. Great reading.

The Writer is well over a hundred years old, and our library has almost all of these, as well.

Shadow_Ferret
01-09-2013, 12:51 AM
I read all the writing magazines when I was first starting out. I do think they have decent advice for beginners, and on occasion they do offer inspirational articles if you need an emotional boost.

But I stopped reading them seriously many years ago. By the time they are printed, much of their articles on trends and new publishers is already outdated.

Ken
01-09-2013, 02:38 AM
Wd goes all the way back to teh twenties, and our library has all but the first four or five years. The ones from the thirties and forties are must reads. WD concentrated primarily on genre and pulp fiction back then, and all the writers of same are in the magazines. Great reading.

The Writer is well over a hundred years old, and our library has almost all of these, as well.

... good to know.
I haven't had much luck in tracking down books on writing from back when. This will be a cool alternative, so long as I can take them out.


Of course I ignored the ads in the back of the magazine, since most were for vanity publishers.

... important caveat.

Jamesaritchie
01-09-2013, 03:10 AM
I read all the writing magazines when I was first starting out. I do think they have decent advice for beginners, and on occasion they do offer inspirational articles if you need an emotional boost.

But I stopped reading them seriously many years ago. By the time they are printed, much of their articles on trends and new publishers is already outdated.

Yes, but every issue has at least one or two how-to articles and columns, and the columns are often more helpful than the feature articles. I'm hardly a beginner, but I still have a lot to learn, and I do still learn from a fair number of articles in these magazines.

I also find a lot of hot market listing before those who don't read the magazines discover them. Getting there first makes a difference.

rhymegirl
01-09-2013, 04:29 AM
You're lucky. Our main library got its budget cut. Used to have an enormous magazine selection. Now we're down to about a third of that. The Writer and Publisher's Weekly went in that, and they never subscribed to Poets & Writers.

I hear you on this. A number of months ago I went into our local library looking for a copy of Writer's Digest and hoping to read back issues, too. I had an idea for an article and wanted to make sure the topic hadn't been covered lately.

I could not find Writer's Digest with the other magazines so I went over to ask a librarian. She said, "Oh, we don't carry that magazine anymore."

Huh? Yup, budget cuts. I asked about the back issues. Nope, no back issues either. I was so disappointed.

I asked her if other local libraries carried WD. None in my area.

acockey
01-09-2013, 05:51 AM
^Barnes and Nobles carries all the magazines you'll ever need

rhymegirl
01-09-2013, 08:23 AM
Well, I can get Writer's Digest at the bookstore. But I'd rather not have to pay for it when I'm doing research. That's why a library comes in handy.

BigWords
01-09-2013, 12:12 PM
There are a couple I pick up for the interviews, but I would rather read something from the 40s for the entertainment value.

Chris P
01-09-2013, 01:02 PM
You're lucky. Our main library got its budget cut. Used to have an enormous magazine selection. Now we're down to about a third of that. The Writer and Publisher's Weekly went in that, and they never subscribed to Poets & Writers.

Don't even talk to me about small town libraries. I lived in a college town in Mississippi for about 10 years, and although the library did the best it could, there just wasn't the money for anything other than a handful of the most popular titles. I could only sometimes find Granta and Fiction in the bookstores, although Asimov's and Alfred Hitchcock's were pretty readily available.

Maybe I'm tight with my money, but I just can't make the kinds of high-dollar sales for it to make sense to subscribe to every magazine I want to submit to. You've all got me interested in Poets and Writers, and The Writer, though.

Linda Adams
01-09-2013, 03:48 PM
Don't even talk to me about small town libraries. I lived in a college town in Mississippi for about 10 years, and although the library did the best it could, there just wasn't the money for anything other than a handful of the most popular titles. I could only sometimes find Granta and Fiction in the bookstores, although Asimov's and Alfred Hitchcock's were pretty readily available.

I'm not in a small town. I'm in a major metropolitan area, and they don't have the money either.

aikigypsy
01-09-2013, 04:27 PM
I checked our local library's website and the local inter-library network for The Writer but no luck. I see Writer's Digest and Poets and Writers all over the place (relatively speaking), but it looks like I'm going to have to buy a subscription if I want The Writer. I may check the local bookstore today, but I don't have high hopes -- I'd like to get a sample copy before committing to a subscription, but from the website, it looks good.

Shadow_Ferret
01-15-2013, 09:09 PM
^Barnes and Nobles carries all the magazines you'll ever need
Hardly. I'm very disappointed in their selection of fiction magazines. There's a hobby store I go to that has racks upon Racks of magazines that B&N doesn't even know exist.

dangerousbill
01-15-2013, 09:54 PM
I'd like to get a sample copy before committing to a subscription, but from the website, it looks good.

Nearly all magazines will send you a sample copy if you call or write. Or maybe email. The Writer resisted modernization for decades, publishing in a cheap, gray-text-only format with an odd size between Reader's Digest and Life Magazine, and I'm guessing their traditions are still fairly conservative.

Linda Adams
01-16-2013, 04:39 AM
Nearly all magazines will send you a sample copy if you call or write. Or maybe email. The Writer resisted modernization for decades, publishing in a cheap, gray-text-only format with an odd size between Reader's Digest and Life Magazine, and I'm guessing their traditions are still fairly conservative.

I remember those very well. My great uncle and aunt were writers, and they always had copies of the Writer on their coffee table. The cover looked kind of like the old Reader's Digest with a table of contents on the front and just two colors.