Writing is an art form. Great writers of the past have inspired us, made us think, and changed lives for the better. All this is lost on Writer's Digest. This magazine reduces writing to a list of "how to" steps, and is more concerned with "getting your writing published" than assisting people in learning how to write and how to appreciate quality writing. Writer's Digest is a shortcut, pure and simple. There are other resources that offer at least some glimpse into what real writers do; choose one of those instead of this marketing-crazed rag. Speaking of marketing, through its "special issues" and Writer's Digest books division, this magazine extends its long money-grubbing arm to fool those who are genuinely interested in writing into wasting their hard-earned cash rather than investing in their minds.
I subscribed to this magazine first in high school, and I adored it. I mean, adored. I looked forward to nothing like its arrival. I even won one of their monthly contests, once.
That was then, this is now. They dropped it to bimonthly with no fanfare that I ever saw, and the price is still identical. But the big thing is that Writer's Digest is now one big shill for the "self-publishing" industry, with the better part of the ads for shady operations happy to take several thousand dollars of your money to put your name on the cover. And the magazine itself has shifted accordingly. Articles continually laud self-publishing as a wonderful option and talk about it like it's a writer's dream... never mind that many of the publishers they take money from have never had a commercially successful author and never will.
The joys of the past are gone. The monthly contests now have no prizes, that I've been able to see. The neat little articles on intellectual property accompanied by ads admonishing us that Xerox and Rollerblade are proper nouns are gone. The interviews are now insipid and most of the articles read like they were hacked together in an afternoon with information that could be easily found online.
Skip Writer's Digest. Go find your RSS reader of choice, subscribe to some good blogs--Writer Beware, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, some of the agent blogs. You'll get far better information with far fewer ads, and for free.
Waste of Time and Money
If you're serious about writing, don't waste your time and money on this publication written on a third grade level. The information is not helpful, as previously mentioned they have sleazy ads in the classifieds (stuffing envelopes anyone?) and THE WRITER is 100 times better. I'd give THE WRITER 5 stars.