Writer’s Digest celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020 and we’re already planning for the January 2020 issue, which will kick off a year-long celebration in the magazine, online and at our live events. Digging through the archives in preparation for this momentous centennial celebration has stirred up our own individual memories of the first time reading the magazine, buying Writer’s Market, being inspired to revise and submit our own work, re-discovering our favorite covers and so much more.
How has Writer’s Digest impacted your writing? Share your favorite memories with us! Whether it was your first issue, favorite cover or interview or bit of advice, a competition winner or your first byline, or anything else—help celebrate our 100th anniversary by telling us how Writer’s Digest has influenced your writing practice.
You can also share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, but be sure to include the hashtag #WritersDigest100 so we can find it. Your memories might appear in a 2020 issue of Writer’s Digest!
Need some inspiration? Here are some of our staff’s fondest memories:
Ericka McIntyre, editor-in-chief: “Can you help me get my book published once you’ve edited it?” This was a question I got many times during my years as a freelance writing coach and book development editor. And where did I turn to answer that? Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market. They were invaluable for filling in any gaps in my knowledge of writing and publishing. When I was offered the job of Editor-in-Chief of WD, it was a dream come true (sorry to use a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason!). My passion has always been writing and helping other writers tell their stories, too. Now I get to do that from the helm of this magazine. My efforts are magnified and supported by our amazing team, and every day I am encouraged and emboldened to do more and bigger things with WD by the esteem and affection we are held in by our community. “Writers helping writers” isn’t just a pithy tagline—it’s our way of life; it’s behind everything we do. And I can’t wait to see what we do in our next 100 years!
Cassandra Lipp, associate managing editor: Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market are what my magazine writing college professor turned our class to for learning to write better queries and get our articles published. Now after writing and publishing my first book, I’m thrilled to be a WD editor, helping other writers improve their craft and get published. Creative writing is no longer a few-times-a-month thing for me. It’s now an everyday thing, as I’m excited to put to use all of the great writing tips I’ve gathered during the work day.
Robert Lee Brewer, senior editor: I first crossed paths with Writer’s Digest in high school when I joined their mail order book club. In addition to some great books on the craft of fiction, my first shipment included a copy of the 1997 Writer’s Market, which blew my mind with how many outlets were available to get published and actually make money writing. That was the moment I realized this writing thing was an actual possibility for me. I’ve been hooked on the Writer’s Digest community ever since.
Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, senior editor: I honestly don’t remember my life without Writer’s Digest. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true. My father’s passion for WD meant the magazine was always within reach of his chair at our dining table. Imagine his surprise when I met Jane Friedman, WD’s former publisher, on Twitter. At WD’s 90th anniversary party, Jane asked me to write an article for Inkwell on my experience being a “tweetaholic.” It would be my very first published article. Jane taught me to believe in my writing voice—the greatest lesson for any writer. Three years before that life-changing validation, I went to my first Writer’s Digest Conference. Though I bombed at the Pitch Slam, the experience inspired me to get on a plane and pitch film executives at a top screenwriting event just three weeks later. WD teaches us about craft and the business of writing, but above all, WD embraces misfit word nerds, giving us a home. Every writer who has read our pages is WD. This apple didn’t fall far from the tree—like my dad, my WD issues are always within reach, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Amy Jones, managing content director: As a child I had a filing cabinet with folders full of story ideas inspired by the books I’d read (hello, fan-fiction). Several years later someone in my family was smart enough to see it wasn’t a passing obsession and they give me a copy of the WD book The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron. From that book I discovered the Writer’s Digest magazine. As a teenager, when it seemed like everyone else was excited for the next big sporting event, I was looking for the next window of time when I could read or write a story. I felt like an outlier. But when I saw a novelist on the cover of this magazine, given the same status as a sports star or super model? Wow, was that exciting for this bookworm! And now, a few decades later, I count myself lucky to work for the community that helped me find my community.
Jess Zafarris, digital content director: I first encountered Writer's Digest in high school in an advanced creative writing class. The issues I read helped me improve my craft, and that year I won two awards for short stories and essays that I produced as a result. That experience gave me the confidence to pursue my degrees and a career in journalism and digital media, enabling me to succeed as a writer and editor and earn more grown-up honors. In my time at Writer's Digest, I've learned an immense amount more about the art and practice of writing than I thought possible. Working for this publication is truly a dream job. I still have to pinch myself when I think about the fact that I get to write about writing for a living! It even empowered me to complete a novel draft—something I never thought I would do. And more importantly, I've engaged with so many inspiring writers whose careers and craft have also been guided by WD, their lighthouse in the stormy waters of the publishing world. I can't count the number of renowned authors and poets—Edwidge Danticat, James Patterson, Heather Graham, William Faulkner, and so, so many more—who have expressed the value of WD to their work and its impact upon their success, in addition to the hundreds of not-yet-widely known writers I engage with every day on the web.
Taylor Sferra, event director: I was introduced to Writer's Digest seven years ago when I started as a conference planner. I've seen the Annual Conference double in size during that time and the content value increase to an immeasurable degree. The events bring every aspect of Writer's Digest to life. Attendees get to meet the WD staff behind the website content, social posts, articles, emails, etc. They meet the magazine contributors, WD authors, competition winners, and of course, award-winning, bestselling authors, too. Best of all, we (WD staff) get to meet you, the writing community we value so much! We get to celebrate your successes, lend an ear and provide tools to help overcome your struggles, in person, face-to-face. Our attendees are by far the best part of every event. It's the reason I love my job so much.
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, publisher: Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market were a central part of my teenage writing years as I dreamed of being the next Stephen King or Ian Fleming, but the most meaningful touchstone is the January 1976 cover which I’ve had framed on my desk for nearly 10 years—a gift after my first go-round with WD a few years ago—a reminder that your writing, my writing, can be more powerful than just being a bestseller.