Writing Magazines

IMG_0861Do you or don’t you?

Over here in UK’land there are a couple of magazines aimed specifically at writers. I subscribe to Writers’ Forum and have been known to buy the other one imaginatively called Writing Magazine. (Give the marketing person a bonus for coming up with that title!) I think they are the main two writing magazines in the UK.

This morning, I’ve settled down to read a copy. Nothing special I hear you say. The magazine dropped through my door about five months ago. FIVE MONTHS AGO!

I’m questioning why I buy the magazine when I don’t wait to devour the content the second it hits my doormat like the six-year-old me would have done with his Christmas presents.

Let me start by saying it isn’t the magazine. I think it has good content. Sometimes the same writers are contributing each month, but as I’ve never pitched them anything I can’t really complain about that.

Their articles have given me lots of inspiration, ideas, posed questions I had never thought of before and all these things are making me a better writer. I think so at least.

So, why do I not rip open the plastic wrapping and read it from cover to cover? Why do I leave it unopened for a couple of weeks before I finally open it and thrust it into the magazine rack with the previous four issues I haven’t read yet?

Probably because I’m lazy!

Or, maybe because I’m in the editing phase of my writing. I know what I need to do and don’t need/want distracting. I’m going to have a readathon of the magazines and see if anything takes my fancy.

I will question whether to bother renewing when they next want some cash from me.

Do you read any Writing Magazines? Do you pitch ideas to any of them?

Thanks for reading. This blog and/or your writing magazine.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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34 Responses to Writing Magazines

  1. Wayne says:

    Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    Do you write? Are you like my friend Pete? Do you collect writing magazines?

    How many times have you read something about writing? Do you always hope you might become just a little bit better at writing? Are you always stretching yourself?

    I hope so.


  2. Linda Govik says:

    I subscribe to a garden magazine and a sports magazine, but no writing ones… I think it’s because I read magazines to get inspired and motivated. For my writing, I have enough of both inspiration and motivation, so I don’t really feel it’s necessary. I’m probably wrong, mind you. Thing is, I’ve never read a writing magazine, so it’s easy to say it’s not for me. If I DID read one… I would be hooked for sure πŸ˜€

    • Pete Denton says:

      I must admit when I read them now I skip lots of it. I’m okay with my ideas and I do know what I need to do. Just need the application to do it!

      Be careful of buying one then. I don’t want to be responsible for addictions πŸ™‚

  3. Miriam says:

    I bought both magazines when I was last in the UK and enjoyed reading them. But I decided not to subscribe because I didn’t really learn anything that I haven’t read before online.

    • Pete Denton says:

      I think most magazines probably fear this more than anything. You can find all the information and more online for free. Blogs are great sources of information. They are good magazines, but I’m questioning whether I’ll renew again.

  4. Jools says:

    Great post and an interesting question. I subscribed to Writing Magazine for 2 years when I first began to play around with fiction. I won their monthly short story prize with the first story I submitted anywhere, back in 2010. I was absurdly delighted with this modest win, and the positive endorsement it delivered. It spurred me on to attempt my novel and 3 years later, complete it. Writing Magazine gave me plenty to think about as I progressed through my first draft, but I take your point about being in the editing phase and finding it less relevant. I’m no longer a subscriber, but pick it up occasionally in the newsagent.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Jools. Congratulations on winning the competition.

      Good that the magazine has helped boost your confidence and spur you on. I think I will probably be in the same boat. Buy when something takes my fancy rather than every month.

      Happy Writing πŸ™‚

  5. 4amWriter says:

    I have never thought about pitching to a writing magazine. I guess I assumed they already had their own staff. It’s an interesting idea, and one I will think about.

    I used to subscribe to Writer’s Digest and The Writer. I think that since I started blogging, I get so much guidance and help from people I follow that I don’t really look to another source. In the past, I have found writing magazines to be fun to read and very helpful.

    • Pete Denton says:

      The ones I read seem to have the same names writing articles each month, but the odd new one appears and I think they’ve just pitched the idea and gone with it.

      I started reading them before getting into blogging and I agree that there is so much help and inspiration out there the magazine seems to be falling down the pecking order.

  6. Amy Keeley says:

    I used to read them when I was first starting out, but don’t anymore. I don’t find them as helpful as I once did, either because the information is online, or because they aren’t answering the questions I have at this phase in my writing. Also, they take away time from getting words on the page, or reading. I’m finding those two things far more helpful in improving my writing these days.

  7. Jemima Pett says:

    I didn’t even know there were writing magazines. But given the number of magazines from organisations I belong to, sitting there in a pile, mostly with their plastic covers still on (did you know you can recycle these by sending them to a company in Rackheath, Norfolk) not to mention the two sacks of New Scientists in similar condition that have been stuck behind the door since I moved in six years ago (I cancelled the subscription), well….

    The pile of books to be read takes priority πŸ™‚

    • Pete Denton says:

      I didn’t know you could recycle them. Good to know.

      When I had five magazines still in their wrapper I questioned the need for them. They’re not six years old mind you πŸ™‚

  8. noelleg44 says:

    I don’t have any experience with a delivered to your door writing magazine – there are several on line literary magazines to which I have contributed. I’ve enjoyed reading their content because they come out just once a quarter or twice a year(less reading time). I usually submit short stories for a month or two each year to beef up my writing creds but want to spend most of my time writing, re-writing, re-writing, and rewriting (my second book).

    • Pete Denton says:

      Sounds like a common theme. They do take up valuable writing time. I might send the odd short story off, but I find that distracts me from my editing.

  9. Yes, Pete, interesting question. I subscribed to ‘Writing Magazine’ for three years before I was overwhelmed with 72 partially read copies, (there was another magazine sent with it, as I recall.) and decided enough was too much. Although packed with useful and interesting articles, it confused me with too much information and made me feel guilty for not writing more myself! πŸ™‚

  10. I don’t subscribe, but I do buy Writer’s Digest on occasion. Like you, my time is better spent writing than being distracted reading the magazine. However, I do enjoy it when I take the time.

  11. Gwen Stephens says:

    I subscribe to Writer’s Digest, and they tend to pile up before I sit down and read. It’s not a bad magazine, but like you, I wonder it I’ll just let my subscription run out when the time comes. Sometimes it feels as though it’s the same articles constantly recycled with a slightly different spin.

  12. paulaacton says:

    I pick them up occasionally but like you they can sit for months before I read them, I considered subscribing but never bothered

  13. jmmcdowell says:

    I still have a subscription to Writer’s Digest, but, you guessed it, I don’t dive into it like I used to. Like Gwen, I feel like there’s a lot of repetition. I suspect I’ll be letting the subscription run out, too. I wonder if there’s a predictable curve for this?!

  14. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I read Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Poets & Writers and the newsletters put out by MWA and RWA and SCBWI. I’ve never thought to pitch any of them. I read them to keep abreast on what is going on in the industry and to improve my craft. I think of them as mini conferences for a fraction of the cost.

    • Pete Denton says:

      That’s a good idea treating them as mini conferences. They are a good way of keeping up with what’s going on and what if on the horizon.

      • Kourtney Heintz says:

        There definitely is some overlap between them though. So if I was on a really tight budget, I’d probably just subscribe to Writer’s Digest. πŸ™‚

  15. I used to order The Writer but stopped because I wasn’t getting through them. I still buy it occasionally if I see it in the shops, but I tend to get my writing information and inspiration online these days.

  16. I used to buy these writing magazines but stopped eventually when I realised they were aimed primarily at amateurs – at least, it felt that way to me. I already know how to write and don’t need inspiration, nor am I able to write a short story under 15 000 words, so it seemed pointless as I couldn’t even enter any of the competitions (which you can’t do unless you subscribe anyway.) I came to regard them as hobbyist type magazines. If you can write a novel and get lost in it and you don’t have time to read a writing magazine, then you don’t need a writing magazine! Save your money, Pete.

  17. munstermann says:

    No writing magazines where I come from, and I doubt I can get these ones without ordering them, which might be expensive.
    Honestly, I feel like days of paper magazines are over, except as some kind of prestige items. Internet is, IMHO, where it’s at.

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