Write what you read


I’ve talked before about how I need to read more Southern authors to make me a better…well…Southern author.

But until that (or those) novel(s) hit the Best Seller list and/or the Silver Screen I’ve got to write some words that pay.

I’ve got a handful of clients for which I do this thing.  Not enough to make the leap to full time.

So, sure, I think, writing for magazines should be easy.  I just need to look up all their guidelines and start submitting.

That’s certainly part of it.

But this week, an email from Linda Formicelli of The Renegade Writer said:

If you want to write for magazines, you need to read them. No, you need to study them. Lots of them.

It’s seems like a simple concept, right?

I mean sure I can write magazine articles.

If I’m not familiar with what magazines are currently publishing and with who is reading them, then I’m really wasting my time.

That doesn’t mean I have to get a new subscription every time I hear from Publisher’s Clearing House.

It doesn’t mean I have to say yes every time a fourth grader shows up at my front door with deals that can’t be beat.

Sure, sometimes it means that.  But not all the time.

But if I don’t understand what magazines are asking for and what is actually being published, then I’m not going to write what an editor is really looking for.

Formicelli recommends getting copies of the magazine you want to write for and reading them cover to cover.

So, yeah, add that to the reading list.

I get a few magazines by subscription.

Honest confession?  They’re free subscriptions.

But I can see the benefit of heading over to the closest bookstore with a magazine rack and taking a look to see what’s out there.

And while I’m at it having a nice coffee.

And checking out the new Moleskin products.

And the grownup coloring books.

On second thought…

Publisher’s Clearing House?  Show me what you’ve got.

I realize I run the risk here of piling up a stack of magazines and being very distracted.

I also run the risk of having to sell articles to magazines to pay for my…wait for it…magazine subscriptions.

Or I’ll be left with combs and a watch chain.

Look up the reference. It will do you good.

I’d explain it, but I’ve got magazines to read.

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