Culture & Literature
The Writer

The Writer February 2020

Since 1887 The Writer has provided the motivation, writing techniques, expert tips and compelling author insights that turn good writing into great writing. We’ll help you become a better writer, find markets for your work, understand the business of writing, follow industry news and trends, reach your goals, and more!

United States
Madavor Media, LLC
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R 119,02
R 561,07
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
build a new kind of network

Most interactions I have at writing conferences are a true joy: I meet so many writers each year who are incredibly generous in sharing their stories, hopes, fears, and goals. Many of these encounters turn into actual relationships, whether as followers on social media, colleagues who keep in touch, or contributors to the magazine. But every now and then, I meet someone who sees every conference encounter as a business transaction, as if every interaction pulses with an underlying notion of “what can you do for me?” And make no mistake: Writing is a business. But no one likes to be treated like a cash register, and no one feels much encouragement to work with a person who sees you that way. My best advice for anyone attending a writing conference is…

1 min.
this month on writermag.com

In love with love Join us all month long for a celebration of the romance genre, from the all-time greats to brand-new titles hitting shelves in 2020. You’ll also find a collection of love-inspired writing prompts just in time for Valentine’s Day – and perhaps an anti-love prompt or two for the Cupid-haters among us. Calling all nonfiction writers Our annual essay-writing competition is now live! Submit your best essay in less than 2,000 words by March 3, 2020 for your chance to win $1,000 and publication in our magazine. Find more details at writermag.com/contests – we can’t wait to read your stories. Make 2020 your best year yet Now that the excitement of the holidays has died down, it’s time to get serious about your manuscript. Find everything you need to “get back in…

8 min.
mud month

Anglo-Saxons called February Solmonath. There are a number of theories about the meaning of the word, but the most reasonable translation – and the one I find the most compelling – is “Mud Month.” It is not a clever name, but it is perfectly descriptive. When I was in college in New Jersey, it was called “slush season,” the time when the stunning, pristine drifts of snow melted into the dirt and formed a mash of ice, mud, and exhaust – a nasty reminder of what was once a beautiful winterscape. It was always a dreary month. It was cold, gray, and raw, but without the compensation of a gorgeous blanket of snow. The excitement of the holiday break had passed. The demands of new classes added to the burden, and…

1 min.
the cozy season

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”— Pietro Aretino 1. A BIBLIOPHILE’S BLANKET These Litographs blankets require a closer look: Each themed design contains the full text of an entire novel, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Walden, Little Women, The Little Prince, and Wuthering Heights (shown here). $70, litographs.com 2. BURN THAT BLOCK OK, so this candle probably won’t magically solve all your manuscript’s problems. But when something promises to smell “like regurgitated ideas and probably a vampire,” it’s definitely worth a shot. $20, whiskeyriversoap.com 3. SOAP ON A TROPE Take your love of literature into the bath with these book-shaped soaps, which feature scents inspired by famous works like The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. $6, etsy.com 4. TOEING THE LINES These cozy socks are printed with a quote from…

7 min.
down to brass tacks

You will have heard from many people that writers need to be on Twitter. I don’t disagree. I’ve been on it for 11 years. I’ve also been the voice behind the handles of everyone from co-working companies to lingerie retailers to literary magazines, and, of course, I write my personal feed. After all these years, I think I’ve finally figured out what makes Twitter work for me as a writer. And although I started using it with the idea of platform and personal brand, it’s ultimately not either of those things that makes Twitter the right medium for me. Back in early 2008, I was doing a lot of freelance writing that involved low-hanging fruit. It was stuff I was interested in and had expertise in already: writing about the environment or…

5 min.
the postscript

In early November, I tweeted an offer to help writers who had been approached by Deadspin after the staff quit in protest over the new ownership’s quest to turn the snarky and smart sports blog into a box score with looser language and wire photos. Freelancers were targeted to pick up the slack. Writer Alan Goldsher contributed one piece to zombie Deadspin – and got vilified by writers and fans. Almost immediately, he resigned. Goldsher, in a series of heartfelt tweets, apologized for his lapse in judgment. In one post, the veteran freelance writer mentioned that he “never had ANY significant support from colleagues.” I took Goldsher’s comment to mean throughout his career, which made me shudder. It’s not that bad, I thought, so I decided I’d offer to provide an…