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 new 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 WD Managing Editor Zachary Petit who, above all else, is occasionally willing to eat lunch with me at Taco Bell. For that, I am thankful.
Managing Editor, Writer’s Digest magazine
I joined Writer's Digest in: Spring 2008
I knew I wanted to be a writer when: I had the sudden realization in school that I was wholly incapable of doing math. (Actually, writing is one of the few constant loves I’ve had my entire life. It’s all I ever really wanted to do.)
The book that inspires me most is: My bookshelves are manic. I honestly believe you can draw some sort of writing wisdom from anything, from favorite authors (for me, Martin Amis, etc.), to Encyclopedias and, in all likelihood, even anything you’d stumble upon at a yard sale—say, a forgotten Victorian romance novel about inexpert textile mill workers.
Favorite moment as a writer/editor: Whenever a new magazine prints. Anyone who has worked in journalism probably knows that surreal feeling that’s equal parts miracle, awe, and fear at this thing you’ve spent the last couple months reading over and over and over suddenly appearing in your hands, final. (Of course, you don’t dare open it—once a card is laid, it’s played.)
Worst moment as a writer/editor: Having to begrudgingly accept the fact that once a card is laid, it’s played.
Outside of the page: Random miscellanea: My apartment is filled with all sorts of writing nerd paraphernalia, from books to art (I tend to buy a lot of the art featured in our Top Shelf column—like this); I have a comically large cat named Gatsby; I write most things too long; and I might have something from a Kurt Vonnegut book imprinted permanently on my arm.
Personal writing project I'm currently working on: I freelance for some different outlets, and am currently working on a fun article for National Geographic Kids. Outside of that, I write a lot of content for Writer’s Digest (profiles and so on). And completely outside of journalism, I’m editing the second draft of a second novel (a mainstream/literary fiction type thing). The first novel found its way, rightfully so, into the recycling bin, early in its tenure as my long-form fiction debut. RIP!