Every January I sit down and write my resolutions for the coming year. I’m a big believer in identifying the targets you’re hoping to hit. And every single year, up near the top of my list is to read at least one writers’ magazine a month. I usually accomplish this goal in January, February, and sometimes in March, but then life gets busy and my magazines end up in an “I’m-going-to-get-to-these-someday” pile.
But this is January, so I pulled out my Writer’s Yearbook 2013 (a special issue from Writer’s Digest.) I read the first story “Find the Heart of a Story” written by Marc D. Allen a *two* time Pulitzer Prize winner about writing, reporting and how to capture the meaning of the story. I highlighted a few things and earmarked the page to remind myself that the information was worth keeping track of.
I then read the next article “All in the Timing” by Don Vaughan a freelance writer who explains how to find pitch-perfect hooks for article. Ah – great stuff here, I said to myself as I highlighted sentence after sentence. I earmarked another page.
Realizing that the very first two articles were incredible helpful, I looked ahead at the other articles. “The Great E-Debate – is it every OK to conduct interviews via email” – as a journalist, I sure wanted to read that one. “How to Pitch Freelance Articles” – well, who couldn’t use more information on that topic? “10 Common Reason Queries are Rejected” was the next article and yup, that one also went on my list. Of course at the end there was the Top 100 Markets for Book & Magazine Writers – an incredibly valuable list for any freelance writer.
I soon realized that *every* single article in that issue was something that I wanted to read. Me thinks I’ll be needing a new highlighter when I finish this issue.
Which brings me back to my resolution. Until now, I’ve always viewed my reading of writers’ magazines as a chore, a bit of drudgery, something that I should do just because I am a writer. What was I thinking by relegating these magazines into an unread pile?
I had never viewed writers’ magazines as the type of continuing education that they are. The good ones present trends, they dissect the craft, and they share successes, as well as failures. And they teach. Reading these magazines is not just another task to perform, it’s a way to exercise your skill and a way to see things from another perspective.
Guess who is not only going to finish this month’s magazine but is already looking forward to next month’s?
How about you? Do you regularly read a writers’ magazine? Should you?
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)
If you have the issue, also check out “50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day” – brilliance.