Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Writer's Digest - A Tried-and-True Writing Community by Abby L. Vandiver

 In December, Writer’s Digest, an American magazine aimed at beginning and established writers, will be one hundred years old! Wow! And Happy Birthday! I’m excited this year because I’ve been invited to speak at their yearly conclave, the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference taking place November 5 – 7, 2020.

Initially, they were going to fly me to New York and put me up at a swanky hotel. But then everything got turned upside down and they weren’t able to get the thousands of participants that usually show up into one place. (Cue sad face.) But, thankfully the pandemic couldn’t stop this century-old event—this year they are going virtual. I must admit though, having it via the world wide web might just be a better iteration of an event that nurtures and inspires writers. Now those who wouldn’t be able to get to New York can join in. And you don’t want to miss this.

The subscription-based magazine is published eight times per year and offers articles filled with tips and advice to authors on how to hone their craft. In addition, the organization also sponsors several contests yearly, including the Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and their Annual Writing Competition for short stories.

The Annual Conference is a living, breathing replica of what they offer in print. It’s a place to go learn, network and enjoy like-minded people.

And it’s always a good thing to be around folks that like the same things you do.

For me, being part of a writing community is super important if you are a writer. And it’s one of the things I always say when asked what advice I would give to other aspiring authors—be sure to join a writing community.

I’ve heard so many authors say they were heading into their “writer’s cave” or they’re on “internet silence” while working on a manuscript. It’s true. The life of a writer, while writing, is one of isolation—spending days and long nights alone in your own space, to avoid distraction—while you bang your story out. But what better way to whip your story into shape but bouncing ideas around with other authors, especially when you’re stuck? And that’s not the only benefit of being part of a writing group. It’s an opportunity to share with people who understand what you’re doing and can help motivate you, help eliminate your fears, critique your story and give constructive criticism. And more importantly, you’ll have a support system that will help you grow and will always be there to cheer you on.

It’s what we all need. And Writer’s Digest on paper, and for this year, virtually, can offer that.

The 2020 Conference will give you all you need. There will be three (Yes! Three!) keynote speakers and dozens of presenters talking about everything from publishing, marketing, writing funny or compelling or great dialogue and even how to write memoirs or crime fiction. Yep. And that’s not all. They’ve covered just about everything. And to top it all off, this year there will be a virtual pitch slam. What’s that, you ask? Well, in their words, it will be a “rare opportunity to pitch your book directly to professional agents and editors.” That means there will be many top-notch editors, literary agents, writers, and publishing experts available to review and appraise participants’ manuscripts and maybe even make an offer of representation or publishing. That’s right. People from the publishing industry will be on hand to provide support and advice on how to navigate the craft and business of writing. What could be better?

As for me, I will be speaking on both Friday and Saturday afternoon, November 6 & 7. (see this year’s
schedule here: And I can’t wait! I’m very excited to be a part of this great conference. I’ll facilitate two one-hour long sessions. The first is Being a Hybrid Author: Reaping the Benefits of Being Both Traditionally and Self-Published and the other is It’s A Small Diverse World: Creating Authentic Voices for Your Characters.

So, don’t wait any longer! Writer or not. Sign up and see what makes an organization keep going strong a hundred years later! 

Hope to see you there!



Annette said...

What an honor! Congratulations, Abby.

Jim Jackson said...

Such great recognition, congratulations! Sorry it's virtual rather than in person, but I'm sure you'll have a great time.

E. B. Davis said...

Sounds like a great conference. I see nothing wrong with virtual events. The in-person ones involve travel and hotel expenses that few writers can justify. Thanks for the links!

Judy Penz Sheluk said...

Congrats on the honor and I'm definitely checking this out. I've rec'd a few Honorable Mentions from WD Competitions when I was a journalist and it really helped my career path (and my confidence). Have shared too!

Susan said...

Congratulations! I hope all goes as planned and you have a great time.

KM Rockwood said...

I appreciate the support WD offers all writers, aspiring and active. So great that you have been recognized for your work. Have a great time "at" the conference.

Kait said...

Have a great time at the conference, Abby - it sounds fabulous and I am definitely checking it out.

Abby L. Vandiver said...

Thanks all! I'm really looking forward to the event. So excited!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congrats! Enjoy every minute.

Shari Randall said...

What a wonderful honor! Congratulations, Abby, and I hope you enjoy every minute!

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Congrats, Abby! What a great honor! I've been to the WD conference on the West Coast. Enjoy!