Today we reveal the cover of the July/August 2020 issue of Writer’s Digest and offer a sneak peek at what you’ll find inside. But before we do that, a few words about the theme and the timeline of creating the issue.
In the summer of 2019, the editors of Writer’s Digest planned the themes for each of the issues that would be part of our 2020 lineup. Picking a travel writing theme for a summer issue was a no-brainer—it had been several years since WD had focused on the topic and warm weather was synonymous with travel for all of us.
We had no idea we’d be putting it together during a global pandemic that would essentially halt travel for months.
Because you’re all savvy readers of WD, you know magazines are written and edited months before they hit the newsstand. By the time most states were issuing stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it was far too late to change the direction of this issue.
Change Is Inevitable
What you will notice is that many of our writers were able to include adaptations to their originally planned articles. Tyler Moss offers eight ways to break into travel writing, some of which involve leveraging online research or making use of video conferencing. Erin Van Rheenan interviewed a travel editor who suggests mining your previous travels for new topics. And Elizabeth Sims offers the ultimate quarantine-friendly version of travel writing: a solo writing retreat on a budget.
We hope to be able to travel again soon—maybe even by the time this issue hits your mailbox—in which case, inspiration abounds. Simon Van Booy has penned a lovely piece of travel writing, reminding us that seemingly small moments abroad can yield major breakthroughs. Creating a vivid setting is one of the best ways your readers can travel through the pages of your book and Barbara Youree offers nine ways to do just that.
Travel aside, this issue is exciting for another reason: We announce the winners of not one, but two WD Competitions. Gregory Jeffers won our Short Short Story competition with “Quitting Time,” and Nancy Shea, who won our Poetry competition with “Lullaby.” Many congratulations to both of them and the finalists of each competition.
If you’re interested in the craft of writing, and I presume you are, you’ll love the interview Larry Brooks did with Robert Dugoni. Dugoni is a lawyer turned bestselling novelist who still teaches (not keynotes—teaches) at writing conferences because he believes the time he spent learning the craft of writing has been the key to his success.
Change of Another Sort
Finally, you may have noticed there’s a new photo accompanying this cover reveal. Ericka McIntyre joined Tyler Moss and Jessica Strawser as an Editor-at-Large, to spend more time writing. During this transition Cassandra Lipp, our managing editor, has been a saving grace. Her hard work is on every page of this issue; you would not be holding it in your hands without her.
On a personal note, I’m thrilled to be taking over as Editor-in Chief of this magazine I have loved for years. In preparation for our 100 anniversary issue, I’ve spent the last several months poring over our archives looking at the ebb and flow of our content as it was impacted by different editors, cultural events, and the passage of time. I’m certain that in the future, readers will observe that impact again here. (I’m writing this in the middle of a pandemic—how could they not.) As always, our commitment to providing you with the best writing instruction and inspiration remains the bedrock of our mission. May this issue be a respite in trying times.