by Hannah Brown, jaBlog! Blogger
In the summer of 2014, I and about 30 others attended the Junior Author’s Writing Conference in Guildford in the UK. It was such a great and enjoyable day for me, and I’m sure it was for the others as well. The whole experience was enriching, and not just thanks to the information and experience we were given in the workshops, or meeting other similarly-minded people (although they were both incredible)–we were also given a goody bag, aptly named because it contained some great goodies.
One of those goodies was an issue of Writing Magazine UK. Although I’d been writing for years, and I’d accumulated many books about writing, I’d never even heard of this magazine, so it was a great surprise and joy to discover that there was a whole magazine not about comics or horses which I could enjoy (I have a very select magazine liking).
Almost as soon as I’d finished the issue, I started a subscription. I still have a subscription. And I want to discuss why, despite the fact I am terrible at reading Writing Magazine.
I have a massive pile of unread magazines, although I do often read the “Writers’ News” section and the first few pages as soon as the subscription comes through. It’s the articles that stump me. You might be thinking, “So why have you written this article if you don’t even read it?!” Because, ladies and gentlemen, last week I realized the terrible mistake I had been making.
I read April’s Writing Magazine cover-to-cover in the space of a couple of days. It was a great experience, and I started a new notebook for all my notes and to do the exercises which are included. I filled up four pages, which normally would’ve taken me days if I had just been noting my inspiration or writing poetry or whatever I happened to be doing. I did that in about an hour.
To give you a look into the enrichment you can gain from a writing magazine like this, here are some of the things I got from just three pages of April’s issue:
- 3 competitions I want to enter;
- 2 flash fiction publishing opportunities;
- 2 books and 2 authors I want to look up;
- a short story competition;
- a festival I’m debating about going to;
- a publishing house I will keep in mind for the future;
- oh–and I discovered one of my alter-egos through a short piece of prose (he’s called Morris if you were wondering, and an alter-ego like that is called a “heteronym”).
So, not much then.
I didn’t even note the whole of the magazine, which I am now regretting, so I will definitely do this for all of the future issues! (Pro tip, there. Pen and paper lasts longer than that grey matter between your ears.) And there will definitely be future issues because this is a great magazine.
What do I want you guys to take away from this? That there are some really great resources out there (aside from LTC and other blogs of course) and they shouldn’t be overlooked because they seem too mature or too scary or just more difficult to get hold of. You might learn some great stuff that you never would’ve heard of before! Even if perhaps you can’t afford to buy all of these great new books or magazines, or you can’t get hold of them, why not look them up in your library, or subscribe to a digital issue.
And if you can get access to these resources, you should definitely use them! Don’t leave them lying around and gathering dust, because there is no way that’s going to be helpful to you, and it’d be a pointless waste when you could be learning something great. Unfortunately, osmosis doesn’t working between words and brains (although how awesome would it be if it did?!). So pick up your resources and get reading… and then get writing!