Culture & Literature
The Writer

The Writer June 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
Read More
R 118,38
R 558,01
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
time & distance

My father died of H1N1 when he was 48 years old. I think that is the first time I’ve ever written that sentence. I know it’s the first time I’ve ever published it. Because for years, I couldn’t write about my father’s death. I knew I would someday. But every time I pressed the memories to see if they were still too raw and painful to explore, my brain recoiled as if touching something white-hot. I wasn’t ready yet. The experience was too fresh, too jagged still to smooth with prose and subtext. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I am writing this to you now in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is springtime here, and we are in lockdown. It is springtime, I have not left the…

1 min.
this month on writermag.com

Pass the time with a good book Unable to leave the house, many of us find ourselves doubling or tripling our reading time lately. You’ll find weekly book round-ups of the latest & greatest books on our website. See them all at writermag.com/blog. LAST CHANCE to enter our writing contest! Our 2020 spring short story contest ends on June 2! Submit now if you haven’t already: Your work of 2,000 words or less could win you $1,000 and publication in The Writer. Find all the details at writermag.com/contests. Insta-inspiration Are you following us on Instagram yet? Discover a daily dose of writing prompts, quotes from favorite authors, and other forms of writerly inspiration every day on our profile. Follow us today at instagram.com/thewritermag. STAY IN TOUCH Put our free e-mail newsletter to work: Check out our weekly…

7 min.
slogging away

I grew up with the impression that marathons were a spectator sport. The Boston Marathon ran by my doorstep, one of the three-family brownstones on Beacon Street, at approximately the 22.5-mile mark. For the old-timers of the neighborhood, “Marathon Monday” was the day to set up a beach chair and chat with neighbors. For us kids, it was a day off from school – the start of April vacation, and a chance to spend the long afternoon outside. We counted ourselves lucky if we caught the moment the elite runners, all muscle and grace, flew by. It was like spotting a shooting star – a thrill and then gone. But for us, the real marathon – the marathon worth watching – didn’t come by until later, long after the elites were at…

3 min.
indie bookstore

Independent bookstores have championed authors over the years. Now it’s time for writers to champion them. Countless independent bookstores around the world have been forced to temporarily or permanently shutter due to COVID-19. Granted, indie bookstores are nothing if not creative, dreaming up alternate revenue sources from curbside delivery to curated book care packages featuring titles handpicked by booksellers based on customers’ reading preferences. But the bulk of many bookshops’ revenue does inevitably come from in-person sales at brick-and-mortar locations, and even a brief closure means stores need writers’ support now more than ever. Here are eight guaranteed ways to help your local indie bookstore stay afloat. (Need help finding an indie bookstore near you? Try BookstoreLink.com.) 1 Order books online. Even if the shop isn’t open to the public, most stores can…

5 min.
go ahead, tie yourself up in knots

In a class I’m teaching for Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction, the discussion board virtually hops with action. Even though there are only eight and nine students in each of the sections I’m teaching for this class, it’s not unusual for each discussion board to see 50 or 60 posts within five days. My students’ posts are rangy and long and deep-thinking and marked by tangents. For the first few weeks, there weren’t any restrictions placed on the posts – the students just had to post their reactions to the readings. And then I gave them a word limit: They had just 350 words to express themselves. There was a fair amount of hand-wringing. Some students just flat-out ignored the instructions and then came around in subsequent posts after being…

5 min.
the reason

The week was off to a great start. The washing machine refused to spin, an unpaid bill for the leaky pipe in the basement lingered. Not only were checks slow to arrive, but also editors seemed indifferent to my pitches. So I wrangled an advertorial into coherency while waiting for my next story to edit. Then the country shut down. As the uncertainty mounts, you might curse your decision to become a freelance writer. You’ll wonder about why you avoided a more stable profession. I know some writers have struggled to write; I don’t blame them. The days are a jumble of vague terror and hellish headlines. It’s hard to write a pitch or file a story when a sniffle induces a Stephen King story, when the people we should trust in…