Recently I listened to a podcast by Mur Lafferty where she reviewed the big two mags, Writer’s Digest and The Writer, and reversed her opinions on which she felt more valuable. But she also talked about the plateau that writers hit when it comes to advice – eventually you’ve read it all and now you need to put it into practice. With that on my mind, I picked up copies of both magazines on the way to Niagara and I’ve only just gotten to them now.
And, yes, these magazines are all saying the same basic topics in a series of shallow treatments that you’ve seen before. One article about self-publishing, for example, was way, way too short to actually guide an would-be writer through that quagmire and while it highlights social media, leaves it at a brief mention of Facebook and never once looks at podcasting. Um, okay.
Got me thinking about my magazine consumption, and it’s true – the magazines don’t offer me much that I haven’t read before. And I know this. In the 90s I used to buy the magazine monthly, then stopped when I realized it was just the same thing month after month. I suppose that’s to be expected. Nowadays, I tend to read select how-to books, ones well-reviewed and dealing with the topic in depth, listen to podcasts and I read blogs.
Lots of blogs.
I look at the bylines of the writers in Writers Digest and The Writer and while I am sure they are nice, talented people, half of them write non-fiction, the other half mainstream genres. They aren’t the people I read. Ever.
Where do I find the writers that I read? Online.
I get more insight, more fresh inspiration and tips from the science fiction and fantasy writers who are actually in the trenches. Alongside the blogs and podcasts, Locus Magazine provides a completely different angle — the books themselves. This market insider and author interviews complement the blogs and the few writing how-to books that let me explore the topics in depth at my own pace.
So while I think I may have reached a point where the mainstream writer magazines no longer have anything for me, what I used to get, or what I went looking for, I find online. And, I think, I’m getting it better.
Edited to add: Wow. Writing a blog entry on my WordPress app for the iPhone, while convenient, is not a good idea. I’ve re-written half of this posting. (And that’s still no guarantee it’s any better!) The blogroll will be posted sometime today.