author – activist – faculty – mom
For anyone who is not familiar with Writers Digest, it is the magazine for those who want to become published writers. When I was finishing the drafts of my book, when I was trying to get an agent, and when my book was on submission, I would buy the magazine and devour it. The roughest were the querying years–the near-decade when I was looking for an agent. At first I was sort of casually glancing around, but by the end, I had queried over a hundred agents and obsessively scoured every source, including Writers Digest. Before I broke down and got a subscription, I recall dragging my toddler to the bookstore. I would pull all the writers’ magazines off the newsstand, then go to the kids’ book section. I would sit in a tiny chair and reading them, while my toddler flipped through picture books and begged for toys. Not until you have kids, do you realize that bookstores are filled with things made of plastic that are not books that small children want you to buy. You are less likely to want these things, and so the bookstore becomes the fight-about-whether-or-not-to-buy-the-stuffed-animal-or-cupcake-set store. During those rough years of my early parenting life, I fended off a lot of synthetic items and worried my dream of being published was slipping away forever.
Writers Digest peddles hope to masses of aspiring writers that we can, one day, fulfill our dreams. My favorite column is “Breaking In,” a how-we-did-it column for debut writers by Chuck Sambuchino. I would read it and yearn: one day, maybe it’ll be me. Then I finally got an agent and a book deal. One of the early submissions my agent made on my behalf was to send my information to Chuck for “Breaking In.” He thanked her and said it was likely to run, but no promises.
So my subscription to Writers Digest has lapsed. In all the craziness of preparing for the launch, many details of my daily life have fallen through the cracks. Subscriptions, parking tickets (yikes!), vacuuming. Perhaps I’ll take my kid (now going into first grade) to the bookstore, so she can beg me for some toy, and I’ll buy the latest copy of Writers Digest. Just like old times.