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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:

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Author Sharon Maas discusses the 20-year process of writing and publishing her new historical fiction novel, The Girl from Jonestown.

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

While the writing process may be an independent venture, the literary community at large is full of writers who need and want your support as much as you need and want theirs. Here, author Aileen Weintraub shares 6 steps in becoming a good literary citizen.

Daniel Paisner: On the Pursuit of a Creative Life

Daniel Paisner: On the Pursuit of a Creative Life

Journalist and author Daniel Paisner discusses the process of writing his new literary fiction novel, Balloon Dog.