I subscribe to “Poets & Writers.” It’s published bimonthly, and is full of articles, illustrations, contest info and publishing info. I keep them in the library (aka my bathroom) and eventually read them from cover to cover. There are always plenty of good interviews with new and established writers and poets. Editors and publishers endlessly debate eBooks vs. big house printing, writer’s retreats vs. conventions and other such notable subjects.
Contest winners explain their thought processes, points of view and work ethic. Different articles point out writer’s fests and book fairs as well as give advice from editors, agents and publishers. I’ve found the magazines to be helpful enough to continue the subscription. Normally I will find a deal on a magazine and subscribe for that year. When the time is up I cancel the magazine and pick another one at discount. If you keep them after the discount period you have to pay the normal full price. Being laid off last year and having a college-aged teen that I’ve raised as a single parent has impressed upon me the need to be creative. This is the only writing magazine I’ve found (in the discount arena) and interestingly enough – the only subscription I’ve ever let continue to the second year. The things we do for our craft.
Entering a short story contest last year garnered me an honorable mention which thrilled me. I was quite happy being one of the top 21 out of 500. One of the perks of getting that mention was a subscription to the site’s online writing magazine. It’s not as handy in the library but I’ve found plenty of other opportunities to read it. It’s full of tips and ideas too. I don’t do a lot of reading on my computer though, preferring to do that on my kindle or on paper, so I haven’t taken advantage of this as much. But it’s there anytime I want to check it.
I find these things interesting and I suppose compelling to read. I’m not sure it’s helped my writing in any concrete way so far, but I feel more informed and up to date being able to discuss with some intelligence things like the future of eBooks or the decline of paper ones. I find opinions I can agree with as well as those that I don’t, but we’ll find that with anything we read or see out in the world today.
In addition to the magazine and web publications, I also read books on writing from time to time. I believe we should all strive to continue our education – be it in a classroom or in the self-help forum. Not striving for more leads us to lethargy, boredom and ultimately – bad writing. My aim in all of this is to publish more. I need the supplemented income and it provides me with a much-needed creative outlet. I guess I’ll continue the magazine next year too, sooner or later some of it has to rub off on me, right?
Do you subscribe to any writers’ magazines as an educational tool? Should you?