Value in Old Writing Magazines?

I went by my mother’s today, and she asked me to help her clear out her old writing magazines to make room for some other re-arranging. (She was somewhat disappointed because she thought she had tons of magazines, but over half of it turned out to be old story drafts and notes, so doing the magazines wasn’t as helpful as hoped.)

She invited me to look through them and take home any I wanted. These are writing magazines, mostly Writer’s Digest and The Writer, from between 1995 and 1999. In many ways, they’re an interesting look at ’90s publishing–articles about using the web as a new tool, or CD-ROMs. New markets from when subscribing to something like Writer’s Digest was the only way to find market listings at all. Interviews with big name writers of the day.

Not a lot of stuff aimed toward scifi or fantasy. Quite a bit themed toward mysteries. I’d like to try a mystery someday, but not in the near enough future to justify toting around 20-year-old magazines.

But I did take about 10. They have articles in them that I hope are more universal, or might have cycled around. Things like characterization, description, revising, plotting, structure. A couple of marketing articles that might still be relevant. Stuff like that.

Will they be useful? I have no idea. I’ve never read a writing magazine at all. I have no idea if the articles are geared more toward beginning writers, or people with experience under their belt. I have no idea if the information inside can be applied to the modern publishing industry. But it can’t hurt to give it a look, can it?

After all, it never hurts to learn. Skills can always be improved.

I’ll let you know if I get anything useful out of any of them. I’ll probably let you know if they’re wildly out of date as well.

Ever read an old writing magazine, Squiders? Or any writing magazine at all? Any opinions on Writer’s Digest? I admit I’ve been thinking about getting a subscription (they’ve sent me a good deal) but I have no experience with them and have no idea if they’re geared toward people of my writing level or not.


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