I would never recommend Writer’s Digest to anyone, ever.
A long time ago, I was dog-sitting for a family friend. The dog-face ploughed into a bunch of rocks, got a bloody eye and I felt horrible (and was never asked to dog-sit for them again). That has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that I found a copy of Writer’s Digest at the dog’s (family’s) house. I was in ninth grade (or so) and thus excited! to find a magazine devoted to writing. I asked for a subscription that x-mas and received it.
A year or two later, I decided the thing was useless. Maybe this was because it changed editors, format, went to a bi-monthly release. I don’t remember. All I do remember is writing that made me yawn and poke-fun, the ‘no-duh’ advice on craft. Also, lots of advertisements and articles about writer’s conferences. (No, I’ve never been to one. But honestly, I think good college courses, local workshops, writer’s groups and the internet are all better, cheaper ways to hone your craft. Also, using those hundreds of dollars on food, pen, paper and a cave to spending a few weeks holed-up in a poor-(hu)man’s writing retreat might be a better course of action than sitting with an agent for five minutes only to be told your writing’s shiit. But I’ve never been to a writer’s conference, so what do I know?)
But I think my hate was mainly because Kevin Alexander stopped writing his column for the magazine. Kevin Alexander is (hopefully was, by now, assuming he’s finished his degree) this sexy rock-star MFA student. (Actually, I have no recollection of what he looked like, so the sexiness is debatable. But wordcrafting rock-stars are sexy by nature.) I also found him a little clever, kind of amusing and very relatable–the procrastination, self-doubt and, at day’s end, an I-will-finish-this-damn-thing-even-if-my-fingers-wear-bloody-and-to-the-bone kind of determination.
When Writer’s Digest slit the throat of his column, they also made a red grin across their own necks. In my eyes, at least. I haven’t read the thing in years. My time’s better spent on actual books and writing. But mostly making blog posts and reading Questionable Content.
…maybe I should get back to editing that Novel.