A New Direction for No Rules

A few years ago, I decided to learn to knit—and that my first project would be a baby blanket for a friend who’d just announced her pregnancy. I soon discovered why most people start with scarves instead: They’re smaller! As her due date grew closer with astonishing (to me, anyway) speed, I ended up taking the mess of yarn along everywhere I went—and the running joke became that it might turn out to be faster for her to create another human being than for me to finish the thing already.

But slow and steady did the job—and just in time, too. When I triumphantly presented my patchwork masterpiece at her baby shower, an even bigger hit than the blanket itself was the note I included listing all the places the gift had already traveled on her daughter’s behalf—from a flight to Fort Myers to a road trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s those moments along the way that become the heart of any cumulative project that’s compiled over time. Re-reading a chapter of my novel manuscript, I’ll be struck by the sudden memory of having first drafted that scene on my porch on a sunny afternoon; in my hotel room overlooking Grand Central Station during ThrillerFest; on a barstool at the Denver airport waiting for a delayed flight home.

And the same can be said for editing each issue of Writer’s Digest—a collaborative effort among our small, tight-knit team. There’s the article lineup we brainstormed at IHOP on Free Pancake Day. The proofs we held until the nail-biting last second while our managing editor, Zac Petit, was grounded by lightning storms at La Guardia. The editor’s letter I scrambled to complete as my own due date approached, my coworkers shooting me nervous smiles each time I waddled away from my desk.

2011 was a year of transitions at WD. We re-launched WritersDigest.com. We remodeled the email newsletter. We welcomed new members to our staff, said goodbye to others, rallied to pull the magazine through my maternity leave without missing a beat.

And with another fresh start, it’s fitting that we begin 2012 with a new group effort here on No Rules. We’ll be reinvigorating the blog to bring you near-daily posts from some players here at WD who should soon become familiar faces. You’ll find regular insights on the quirks of the writing life, on the heart of the craft itself, and on the challenging business of publishing—from me, from Zac, from WD Books editors Scott Francis and Roseann Biederman, and from other trusted editors and contributors we’ll be inviting to stop by.

We’re already excited to see what we can build over time—and we hope you’ll come along for all the memorable stops along the way.

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest magazine

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest

 

Follow me on Twitter: @jessicastrawser
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