August 30, 2016
Note From Rochelle
Big news! Registration is open for my Write-A-Thon Book Coaching Program.
This course will give you the opportunity to learn how to write a nonfiction book AND get the support you need to do it! There are only a limited number of spaces for the Gold and Platinum levels, so sign up soon.
Today’s tip rounds out our summer #WritersRead series with a list of magazines!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
I confess: I’m a bit of a magazine junkie. It started in high school, when I was equally thrilled by Seventeen Magazine and an academic journal about theatre (yeah, I was a geek). It might be an offshoot of my addiction to words—you know, the “I have to be reading all the time” feeling. I’d like to think that reading periodicals improves my brain in some way. Unfortunately, sometimes reading magazines just adds to my anxiety—because so many popular periodicals tell us we lack something: time, money, beauty, happiness, or success.
Even so, I read on. Here’s why. Last week, I talked about how popular authors like Madeleine L’Engle read outside their niche. For L’Engle, reading particle physics and theology wasn’t just a way to pass the time. It’s where she found her ideas for novels and the science that was woven through many of her stories.
As an author and writing coach, I read widely for the same reason—it expands my understanding of the world and the people in it. When I read on topics outside of my natural interest, I find ideas for stories and characters. I also discover tools to help my clients.
Here’s the thing: I don’t always know what I don’t know—or what I need to learn. Even if I did know what I should know, I don’t have time to read books on all of the ideas and places and theories I’m curious about. That’s why I read magazines. I don’t subscribe to a lot of periodicals, but I do stop by my favorite independent bookstore (thank you, Boswell Book Company!) and load up on intriguing titles whenever I can.
Pro Tip: If you hope to write for a specific magazine, then it’s crucial to read it. Not just once: repeatedly. Study the publication–read back issues, visit the website, learn about their POV and audience.
I’ve made a list of some of the magazines I’ve found to be helpful. I recognize that this is a very personal list. For that reason, I’ve asked readers for their suggestions. After my entries, I’ve included the magazines you’ve recommended and a note from two readers who prefer to read articles online.
I encourage you to take an artist date sometime in the next week or two—either to the library or the bookstore—and page through some new magazines. Let me know if it sparks new ideas or characters!
The Write Now! Coach Magazine Reading List
About: According to the website, The Smithsonian Magazine, “ celebrates the creators, innovators and idea-makers who drive us forward to the future.”
Why I read: In several long articles and short information pieces, I can explore various times throughout history and places around the globe. What could be better fodder for a writer?
About : According to their listing in Writer’s Digest’s Market Guide, Marie Claire is a: “Monthly women’s magazine focusing on women around the world and worldwide issues. Also covers health, beauty, and fashion topics.”
Why I read: I subscribed to Marie Claire after watching several seasons of Project Runway, featuring Creative Director Nina Garcia. I’ve kept my subscription because of the fascinating articles about young women around the world. The periodical also has a great media section, recommending books and music as well as offering tips for women in business. (And of course, lots of pictures of shoes and bags!)
Spirituality & Health Magazine
About: From their website: “We cover a broad range of topics under the umbrella of health and spirituality…”
Why I read: I’ve read this magazine for many years because I like the mix of columns and articles, art, poetry, informational articles and personal stories. More than any other periodical, this one offers ideas for how I can support clients.
About: From the website, “Yoga Journal offers all practitioners—from beginners to masters—expert information on how to live a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life both on and off the mat.”
Why I read: I love to read about fitness and meditation, and Yoga Journal offers a great combination of both in a way that’s healthy and balanced.
And a few more favorites:
Once I finished this short list, I realized I omitted some favorites. When I’m heading out on vacation or need to relax with something other than a novel, I often choose one of these magazines: Real Simple, Inc, Forbes, Psychology Today, Cooking Light, and InStyle.
Reader Magazine Choices
From Kathy Haueisen, author, http://howwisethen.com
Writer’s Digest (www.writersdigest.com) has been coming to my home mailbox once a month for decades. I like the wide variety of topics, information about agents, invitations to submit small items, and the articles by people in the know and in the business. When I’m discouraged or out of creative juice a half hour spent browsing through this publication usually gets me going again.
From Genia Shipman, writer, https://twitter.com/geniawriter
Right now I subscribe to two magazines—Entertainment Weekly and Poets & Writers. I used to subscribe to Writers Digest and The Writer and all those other writerly-type magazines, but I stopped when I realized I knew what they were saying before they said it.
I read EW because I’m a former TV writer/current TV fanatic, and EW feeds that obsession. Also, they have a good-sized book review section. I’ve found several good reads that way.
I read P&W because I’m a writer. Not only does P&W have an outstanding listing of contests and deadlines, they also point me toward retreats and conferences. They also do interviews with writers, including debut authors.
From Maria Yaraee, Write Now! Tip Subscriber
I read Science Daily because it’s relatively research-based and unbiased.
Recommendations for Online Reading
Jeanette Stokes, author, https://stokesnet.wordpress.com
I stopped all of my magazine subscriptions years ago. I read online, but only as issues interest me or when friends recommend stuff.
From Beth Gaede, conceptual editor and publication project manager, https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethgaede
I don’t read magazines any more. Within the past year, I quit subscribing to The Christian Century, which I had subscribed to since 1979 (my last semester of seminary). In the past, one of my husband’s daughters has given us subscriptions to Smithsonian and National Geographic. But we’ve always let the subscriptions lapse when they’ve run out.
I don’t read magazines any more for several reasons. First, I find I generally read only one or two articles in an issue, so I don’t like to see all that paper go to waste when. Second, I don’t want to commit my precious reading time to just a few publications, because—thanks primarily to my smart, curious Facebook friends—I regularly run into interesting articles in a wide range of magazines. (The Atlantic and The New Yorker show up a lot.)
Finally, reading magazines (whether on paper or online) eats into the time I have available for books—and given that I spend much of the day reading already, motivating myself to read books is hard enough. I try to discipline myself not to spend too much time on other things and don’t need the temptation.
Fill up our comments section. I’m curious about you. What magazines do you read and why? If you don’t read paper magazines, what online sites get your ideas flowing? And if you don’t read short pieces, tell us what else you’re reading.