All the editors on Writer’s Digest staff aren’t just 9-5 editors, we are also writers and storytellers—which is why we are so passionate about writing and publishing. “WD Editors Are Writers Too” is a column on this blog to give you a sneak peek at the folks who lead the WD community—including their quirks, what inspires them and what they are writing outside of the Writer’s Digest world. Today’s pick is Writer’s Digest Managing Editor Tyler Moss, who recently joined our wild staff—and then immediately left for two weeks to get married. (The nerve! Doesn’t he know grammatical fixes wait for no one! Of course I’m kidding! The overuse of exclamation points are a clear indication of that!)
Without further ado, here are some fun facts about Tyler (and feel free to follow him and say hi on Twitter @TJMoss11.
Managing Editor, Writer’s Digest
I joined Writer’s Digest in: July 2015
I knew I wanted to be an editor when: I was in about the third grade when I made up a neighborhood newspaper that I called the Derbyshire Ct. Times. I passed out pens and blank pages of printer paper to the other kids on my street and asked them to write stories I considered to be News: “Richardson family buys new Ford Windstar” or “Brownie, Ms. Hunt’s labrador, dies at 13.” My favorite part was marking up the grammatical and spelling errors in their scribbled stories with red pen. Now that I reflect on that time, I must’ve been quite the Know-It-All. After I felt all the stories were properly edited, I’d staple the papers together and sell the issue to my dad for a dollar.
The book that inspires me most is: When I first read The Shining by Stephen King, I was likely way too young for much of the material, but I remember being totally engrossed. To this day I remain incredibly impressed with the way a good horror novel can conjure terror from simple words on a page, without any of the bells and whistles a movie has at its disposal: dramatic music, special effects, etc. When I was a kid my family moved around a lot, and it always took a while to make friends in a new place. But books were always there for me, always my friends, and the ability to become immersed in a world of fiction made those days much easier. The Shining was one of those dear friends.
Favorite moment as a writer/editor: No feeling is more satisfying than when you complete a piece you’ve been working on for a long time. The fact is, many projects never even make it to that stage and just slowly suffocate in rough draft limbo. For me, the more edits and revisions the story has undergone, the more time that has elapsed since I started, serves only to amplify that sense of accomplishment when I can finally see it through to the finish.
Worst moment as a writer/editor: Rejection. Whether it’s the first, tenth or fiftieth time, it still hurts. And while I’ve certainly become better at moving on, I’m not ashamed to say that I still feel a pang of despair when a note arrives in my inbox that says, “While this particular query does not meet our present publication needs, we do thank you for thinking of us.” Someone once told me that John Updike wallpapered his office with rejection letters from The New Yorker before finally hitting it big. True or not, I always try to keep that in mind—every rejection is just another form of motivation. In my experience, the alchemy for success as a writer is built upon two fundamental principles: persistence and resilience.
Any background info you’d like to share: In addition to writing and my wife, I have two primary passions: craft beer and pop culture. I’ve written about beer for magazines like DRAFT, Outside and Paste, and build vacations around brewery stops and bottle shops. As for the pop culture, I consider myself a sort of entertainment sponge. Music and TV, books and movies—I try to stay on the cutting edge, though I think my addiction to post-Apocalyptic storytelling might be on the brink of overdose. I will also take this opportunity to unabashedly admit that I listen to audiobooks, but let me be clear: I listen to them as a supplement to tangible books, not in place of them. They’re just an extra way to consume fiction in situations where actual reading could be seen as hazardous—in the car, on a treadmill and so on.
Personal writing project I’m currently working on: My most recent freelance piece was an article for The Atlantic on “The Evolution of TV’s Very Special Episode.” I’m also working on a satirical short story called “After the Rapture” that envisions a banal and irritatingly bureaucratic end of the world.