Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Review—Writer’s Digest

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

Have you ever felt left out? Ever been told you should do something if you want to succeed—but you can't?

If you've ever contemplated a writers conference with a non-existent bank account, three small children, or a work schedule with zero vacation, then you know what I'm talking about.

If you've been writing for any length of time, you know about conferences. You know you should find a way to get to one, preferably every year. You know your career will benefit.

But you can't go. You can't afford it. You can't leave your kids. You can't get off work.

But could you spare $20?

That's right. $20. The price of two movie tickets. The price of four frappuccinos. The price of five gallons of gas (I know, depressing isn't it).

For $20, you can subscribe to Writer's Digest. Think of it as a little mini-conference that comes to your mailbox eight times a year.

Don't believe me? Let's think about what happens at a conference.

1. Networking - I'll grant you that you aren't going to get the same person-to-person networking from a magazine that you'll get at a conference, but each issue will expose you to new genres, new publishers, new authors, new agents, new websites and new ideas. The May/June issue lists the 101 Best Websites for Writers. You'll find websites for agents, online writing communities, writing advice, specific genres and much more.

2. Classes - Sure, you want to take classes in your field, but you also want to broaden your horizons and take a few classes in areas you know nothing about. Writer’s Digest meets both requirements. The February issue included the article "25 Ways to Improve Your Writing in 30 Minutes a Day" - hmm, sounds like a workshop title to me. If you're a fiction writer, the May/June issue's "Writer's Workbook" focuses on backstory. If you're more the freelance article type, the focus is on Food, Wine & Travel writing. It's fascinating.
3. Inspiration/Motivation - Conferences are like pep rallies for writers. So much encouragement, so many new ideas, so many reminders of why you write—you feel exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.

I'm not going to pretend that reading Writer's Digest will make you want to grab some pompoms or put on some college football fight songs as you write. But, there’s something about having a magazine with the title Writer's Digest landing in your mailbox—with your name on it.

It's a little reminder.

I may not be at my favorite conference this year.
But I am a writer!

What about you? Do you subscribe to Writer's Digest? How has it helped you?
Don't forget to join the conversation!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. On her blog Out of the Boat she writes about faith and family while her blog Perpetual Motion documents the joys and challenges of loving and rearing a child with special needs. A graduate of Clemson University, Lynn lives in South Carolina where she writes, reads, knits, takes care of three amazing children, one fabulous man and one spoiled rotten Boston Terrier.


  1. Okay . . .Okay. You've convinced me. :)Signing up for my subscription now.
    Will miss you this year.

  2. I LOVE my Writer's Digest. I've gotten it for years. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first things I did when I thought I "might" want to be a writer! Blessings - E

  3. You know, this is something I've been planning on doing and you've just TOTALLY convinced me to do it now....Just Do It! I'm going to use your link as soon as I post this. Thank You!! God Bless!

  4. Gonna miss seeing you this year Lynn. You have such a joyous spirit. Its contagious!

  5. I subscribe to their email newsletters, because they often share craft articles and lots of tips.

  6. Several years ago, I attended a CCWC workshop taught by Nick Harrison,an editor at Harvest House. He gave us all a quiz that basically boiled down to "how far along are you along the writing road?"
    Writer's Digest was a must-read on his list.
    I've subscribed to it for years!

  7. I've subscribed to WD off and on since the 80s. That's when Laurence Block wrote a column. Currently my subscription is up to date, and your post convinced me to keep it that way!