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Fortune Favors the Bold: Inside the September 2018 Issue of Writer's Digest

The theme of the September 2018 Writer’s Digest is “Writing Boldly.” Here, Editor-in-Chief Tyler Moss explains what that means for writers today.

The theme of the September 2018 issue of Writer’s Digestis “Writing Boldly.” Here, Editor-in-Chief Tyler Moss explains what that means for writers today.

 Order the September 2018 Writer's Digest.Or subscribe to get WD all year long!

Order the September 2018 Writer's Digest.Or subscribe to get WD all year long!

I’m the sort of person who deadbolts the door of our apartment when taking the laundry down to the basement washing machine and prints out a map of the high ground when we go to the beach just in case a tsunami happens to hit. In high school, I was the guy nauseated by anxiety as others jumped off the second-story deck into a swimming pool. When I got a tattoo in college, I sat my mother down as if about to reveal a horrific medical diagnosis and solemnly passed her a folder containing a picture of the illustration … after spending months carefully considering the choice on my own.

There’s a natural tendency for scribes to seek control—to act with calculation. After all, our pastime of choice is to construct organized worlds from the chaos of ideas that cascade through our minds. But as I’ve learned firsthand, there’s something to be said for approaching your writing life with a little more audacity.

After graduate school in Chicago, my now-wife accepted a job offer and we moved to Cincinnati—not exactly a magazine-publishing mecca. Hungry for employment, I struggled to find work for months. I tried cold pitching publications, but without any clips to my name, I couldn’t land an assignment. As that frustration came to a boil, I vented those emotions into an essay about being a “stay-at-home boyfriend,” detailing my feelings of inadequacy, shame, resentment. It was more personal than anything I’d written before, and frankly, it was pretty damn embarrassing. On a whim, I submitted the full piece to a major venue. Not only did they purchase the essay, but to my surprise it went viral, provoking waves of reader comments. That essay opened the door to robust, regular freelancing opportunities—and ultimately landed me a position at the national niche publication Family Tree Magazine. Not even a decade later, I’m the editor-in-chief of Writer's Digest.

To be bold in your writing means something different to each of us, both on the page and in the world. Your daring act may be dramatic, like quitting your day job to pursue full-time freelancing. It may be something subtler, such as writing your first short story from a new POV. Perhaps it means experimenting with a despicable protagonist, exposing yourself through self-promotion or facing the fears responsible for your writer’s block head-on. In my case, it was opening myself up to the same vulnerability prescribed by Maria Walley in her piece “Bare Your Soul.”

Courageous writers are constantly challenging themselves in some way or another. With that idea in mind, we built the September 2018 Writer’s Digest around the theme Write Boldly: Taking Risks & Daring to Dream to push you outside of your comfort zone and into exciting new territory. As Newbery Honor–nominated author Jacqueline Woodson says in this month’s WD Interview: “I think every writer needs some bravery and boldness, and a little bit of a unicorn in them to make it.”

Cheers,

Tyler Moss

Writer’s Digest Editor-in-Chief

Check out our web exclusives from this issue:

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.