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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:

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

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Get all 30 poetry prompts from the 15th annual November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge here. Actually, 35 prompts if you're counting Two-for-Tuesday prompts!

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

Many people are self-professed "stalkers" on social media, whether they're following life events of friends or celebrities. But writers can learn quite a bit on social media by stalking publishing professionals too, and this post covers the appropriate way to do so.

Vérant

Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

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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 warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

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Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.