Vision: A Resource for Writers
Holly Lisle's Vision
Making the Connection
Writer's Digest Web Site
Reviewed by J. Harlowe
2002, J. Harlowe
established magazines refuse to make the leap to the worldwide web. Those that
do are often unable to transition their strengths from the printed page to the
virtual one, and become little more than an advertisement for their print
counterpart. Writer’s Digest not only makes the leap, but demonstrates how to
do it right. Those familiar with Writer’s Digest (the magazine) will feel at
home at writersdigest.com (the
focused on improving writing skills, the WD web site shares the same mission as
the magazine, but with a recognition of both the power and the limitations the
web format represents. The designers clearly realize their readers are poised in
front of a keyboard and are ready to work. The articles chosen for inclusion on
the web seem shorter than the standard magazine articles, and the result is an
almost subliminal urge is to use those suggestions immediately!
are plentiful as well, with a combination of longer articles and short tips, as
well as market information, Q&A archives, and message boards. The site is
actually a well-provisioned chest of treasures, featuring the expertise and
insights offered every month by Writer’s Digest magazine in an interactive
take a quick look around the site and see what jewels we can find!
Digest has always had two goals for their readers, and these are summed up by
the first links at the site: Write Better and Get Published! Joining these links
are two others, Getting Creative and Finding Resources. Each is a doorway to
three short articles that help the writer achieve their goals, a quick look at
troublesome grammar points, or a guide to markets. Another section offers
an item on building story lines, drawn from the pages of a book on the subject.
Each section offers the searcher enough to keep them interested, but not too
much to carry back to the base camp!
site also delves into the five major markets that WD has always addressed:
Fiction, Non-fiction, Children’s, Poetry, and Screenwriting. Each section
offers at least two articles with a specific skew toward the topic in
course, WD has always been about resources for writers. There’s links there as
well, with writer’s guidelines, contests, and conferences, as well as
connections to books, magazines and forums. There are also quick links
that greet you each time you enter writersdigest.com.
Who could resist checking the links to Market of the Day, or a Tip of the Day to
improve your skills? There’s also a Writing Prompt to get you started pounding
long as we are touring the site, we do need to mention that this is clearly
Writer’s Digest, and the site follows the magazine in many aspects. This
includes the blurring of the line separating promoting the writer and promoting
the company. Every page has an invitation to a course, workshop or book sold by
Writer’s Digest. They are not obnoxious, like many ads online are, but be
aware they are also not clearly an advertisement. Until you become use to the
design, you may pursue what appears to be a link to an article on improving your
writing, only to find it is actually an invitation to purchase a course or a
book. They are not bothersome, and there is no “trap” intended or implied.
Simply back out and go on – unless of course you want the item. They’ll be
more than happy to sell it to you. Speaking as someone with numerous Writer’s
Digest books surrounding me, their books are worth the price. Understand, too,
that the promise of the web is only fulfilled if companies can achieve income
from the web.
don’t overlook the emailed newsletters offered by the WD website. Most writers
will find at least one that strikes their interest, and you will not be
disappointed in the results. Each newsletter cuts to the heart of the issues,
and offers readers enough information in the newsletter to refresh you on a busy
day, and provides a reminder to visit the site again.
I’m certain you have found websites you enjoy, but they don’t change often enough to keep your interest, or you simply forget to return in the busy day-to-day world of competing attractions. Writer’s Digest brings the strength of the monthly magazine to the web, and leverages those resources to keep their website freshly stocked with information that all writers can use. The website compliments, rather than replaces, the magazine. Visit www.writersdigest.com and see how a successful magazine makes the web work for their readers.