Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What Writing Magazines Have to Offer

Today I have been mostly reading October's issue of Writers' Forum and, for my birthday, I have a good idea that I'll be getting a subscription to Mslexia. But how useful are writing magazines?

There are three main writing magazines that may be of interest to budding and experiences writers:

Writing Magazine
This is probably the bestselling magazine for writers and is available for subscription with Writers' News. Subscribers I have spoken to appear to learn a lot from the magazine but it has less to offer the experienced writer, many do however find Writers' News invaluable for information on the current writing market.

Writers' Forum
Many writers I have spoken to now feel that Writers' Forum has the edge over Writing Magazine. It provides a wide range of features, regular columns and writing exercises that is in keeping with the current market.

A quarterly magazine for women who write, Mslexia will not be for everyone. The articles are usually longer than those featured in its competitors and could be described as more self exploratory, it also includes an extensive list of upcoming competitions, festivals and courses.

The problem I usually find is that there will be articles in an issue I don't find particularly useful because they are about a genre I do not write in. If you are a magazine addict or just want a broad insight into the writing world this is something you probably won't mind, otherwise check the magazine content before you buy an issue. Writers' Forum and Writing Magazine can be picked up in many newsagents and Mslexia can be purchased from their website as an individual issue.

A writing magazine does not have to be an annual investment. If you find you are buying a magazine every month and enjoying it perhaps then consider subscribing.

Besides features, author profiles and exercises I find one of the most valuable aspects a writing magazine has to offer is the inspiration it can conjure. Sometimes reading about an author's success or what an agent is looking for is just what you need to encourage you to stop reading and start writing! Ultimately writing magazines are great tools but you must always remember: they are not writing.


jenny wilson said...

i love it when writers new and writers forum come trough my post box x

Lou Treleaven said...

I find subscribing to a writing magazine makes me feel like a real writer - it also reminds me when it drops through the letterbox to get on with it! Writers' News is my favourite because of the market updates, and I am finding now that, unless there is an interview with a favourite writer, most of the articles in Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum cover old ground. So I am planning to just continue with Writers' News for now.

Helen Baggott said...

I subscribe to Writing, Writers' News and Writers' Forum.

On balance I enjoy WF the most. I shan't renew my sub to the others because I find a lot of the content irrelevant.

Shirley said...

I subscribe to Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum. I love reading them both, but I think WF is my favourite. as they devote more time to poetry.
I love entering the poetry comps in WM. There is a monthly one in WF, which I have had a go at now and then without success, but you get a free critique which is really useful. I wish WM did that and also I wish WM showcased more entries, rather than just first and second prizes. They used to publish third prize I remember.
As I write for children too I'd like to see more on this genre in WM. Again WF does this better I think.
A friend sent me copies of Mslexia which I like too, but I can't afford another subscription!

Christine Muir said...

Ive just given myself a bit of a shake up writing wise - so Ive cancelled my subs to WM,WN &WF and taken out a sub to Witers Digest & Myslexia just to give myself a different perspective.

WM & WF seem to be covering old ground, and some of the articles are a little 'light' on content.

As someone has already written, having a writing magazine drop through my letterbox reminds me that I should be writing!

febes said...

I used to prefer WM to WF. But now it is the other way round! As others have said, getting the magazines remind me I should be writing.

aw said...

I subscribed to Writers' News and Writing Magazine for a number of years until I found I was reading the same advice over again. Also found a number of the markets listed were not paying ones and I suppose this made me disillusioned with them.
Have had Writers' Forum for a couple of years and find it more immediate and with a cosier feel and have certainly found it of practical value. The markets detail is not covered but with more and more titles appearing online it is quite possible to locate new openings with a search.

Steph said...

As aw says above, I have found that if you buy writing magazines for any length of time, you will find that, not only is the advice always the same, but it seems to lag hopelessly behind the times. I used to buy them when I was young and inexperienced, between 1999 and 2001, and at the time they seemed awesome.

However, as I progressed, they became obsolete. I saw a copy of WF earlier this year, and it didn't surprise me to find articles that may well have belonged to the 2000 copies of WM. Again as aw says, the advice regarding non-paying markets is absolutely shocking. Have they never heard of the Renegade Writer guides and of how accepting no remuneration for writing is professionally unsound for all of us? I guess not.

Lily Childs said...

I subscribe to WM, WN and WF. WM is a bit too mainstream these days though its comp special in the current issue is great.

WN is a great resource for markets. I scour it from cover to cover.

WF has improved enormously over the last few months with more diverse article than WM, though the last issue seemed rather thin and its delivery date is unreliable.

auntagnes said...

I agree that having a writing magazine drop through the letter box or into a shopping basket reminds me that I'm a writer, and though reading isn't writing, I can claim research.


scribocin said...

I'm just going to repeat what has been already said:
1/ started off by reading WM and found it helpful but as I've developed as a writer it stopped being so useful; still suscribe to it though but I'm thinking of not renewing as it's def for beginners

2/ Writers' Forum is my def favourite, even more in the new format; always liked their short story comps with 'ticky-boxes' optional feedback and just sent something asking for feedback in new format.

3/I read WN from cover to cover with a pen to mark interesting markets etc; very useful.

4/ Tried Lexia once but it was too highbrow for me.

Actually, I like reading all of them because they remind me that I am a writer, motivate and inspire to keep writing.