I am magazine obsessed, at least when it comes to magazines for writers.
I subscribe to “Writer’s Digest,” “The Writer” and “Poets & Writers,” but unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind. I have about a dozen issues to catch up, because I wasn’t reading magazines for a few months.
Life happened. Writing didn’t, or not so much. And the magazines remained in my closet.
To get myself back on track, so that I’m reading two months ahead of the publication date (I love how publications send you your subscription before it hits the stands, so you’re smarter and ahead of the trends), I stuck magazines in my book bag, my work folder and anywhere else I could stash and carry a copy. Basically, I wanted to go to the post office, get my magazine and start reading, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I have to add to my magazine pile!”
In fact, I used to be two dozen copies behind, and I entered a magazine reading frenzy at the beginning of the year. Appointments, breaks and spare moments became a time for reading about writing. What resulted is a kind of dialog, where I kept absorbing new angles, new ideas and new information about the elements of writing, the craft of storytelling and the life of writers and how they approach writing discipline, motivation and craft.
As a writer, I can’t stop learning about the craft, because even if writing stories and novels follows structure and form, ways of understanding and approaches differ. Reading magazine articles layers in details of understanding the craft, so that it’s a constant learning process.
I made my work breaks a focused way of working my way through the magazine pile. I write as a journalist and spend two or three evenings a week working on my novel, editing other novel projects and writing the occasional short story or poem. I write and write some more; i.e., it sometimes seems like too much.
But if I spend a half-hour flipping through the pages of a magazine, reading about writing, I relax, especially if I’m outside in the sun absorbing the rays and the words. I get inspired to go back to work, thinking about what I learned about writing and the writing life.
The reading causes me to be more absorbed in the process, because I’m not just writing after work but constantly refreshing and reading new material.
So, I don’t know what I’ll do when I get through my pile.
Maybe I’ll have to return to eagerly awaiting my next issue, ready to read every article, but slower to make it last.