Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 27 November 2016

To Subscribe - or not To Subscribe?




I’ve always loved magazines. When I was younger it was the glossies - the glossier the better as far as I was concerned. Vogue. Harpers and Queen. Tatler. CountryLife. It didn’t matter that everything in them - the lifestyle, the cars, the clothes, the houses - oh the houses - were (are) all totally beyond my means, I could spend hours dreaming and saying ‘what if?’ 

Then, newly married and not having much spare money, my guilty pleasure became hiding a Woman’s Weekly or a Family Circle in amongst the supermarket shopping, telling myself it was for the recipes. For years I struggled with my obsession with magazines when they became labelled a ‘luxury’ in our money-strapped house, sneakily buying them and reading them in secret - in the bath usually! 

My love of magazines was really what started me off wanting to be a writer. Writing a novel was, I thought, way out of my league but I thought I could perhaps be a journalist. So, as I struggled to become ‘a writer’, I found the writing magazines. Writers News; Writers Forum; Mslexia: to name but three I have subscribed to regularly over the years. Bought to learn from and to keep me in the loop with publishing news etc. But these days I have a problem: do I really need to keep buying the actual magazine when I can read and learn everything I need to know, on-line? All with the added bonus of not paying a subscription to a dedicated magazine.

Well yes I’m afraid I do! Social media takes up a lot of time for writers these days (well it does for me as I don’t really have a clue as to what I’m doing!) and I already spend far too much time in front of my computer, writing. Switching off the computer and sitting on the sofa reading a magazine at the end of the day is a high point for me. 

Living in France I don’t have ready access to newsagents selling magazines in my mother tongue so friends are cajoled and bribed into bringing me their finished with copies of Good Housekeeping, Red, Marie Claire - or any other magazine they’ve finished with when they visit. My subscription to Writing Magazine is automatically renewed each year (I’m pleased to say over the years I’ve had the odd feature and mentions in there). This year I’ve even taken out a subscription for the French answer to Country Living - Campagne Decoration.

My large coffee table bears witness to the amount of magazines currently in the house.
So, do you subscribe to your favourite magazines or simply grab a copy off the shelves when you see them? Or, do you never bother with magazines?























20 comments:

  1. Good question. I have just cancelled my daughters subscription to First News as it sat in its wrapper. I am actually sad at this so will just pick one up when I see one.

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    1. Picking up one when you see one will probably work better for you!

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  2. i don't subscribe to magazines - I used to, but they do become repetitive after a while. That said, I do love to buy them for train or bus journeys, so they still serve a purpose!

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    1. To be truthful I'm finding that with Writers News, Jennifer. Will probably take a few months break when the current subscription finishes in July.

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  3. How interesting, Jennie. Reading this has made me realise how much I rely on the internet these days. I used to subscribe to a few magazines (ah, those lovely houses!) but gradually gave them up. 'The Week' was good for an overview of different news outlets, but with the internet that's no longer necessary. In fact the only one I still subscribe to is 'Dumfries and Galloway News' and I think that is mostly because it reminds me of the brilliant 20+ years I lived in the area. Hmmm, wonder if I really need even that subscription now ...

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    1. The internet has taken over these days hasn't it, Gill? But you can't really curl up with a tablet to read in the same way can you?

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  4. I tend to be a "see and grab" kind of girl, but it can get me into all sorts of trouble so I don't advise it. A glossy cover can seduce a reader, but it is the content that makes it a worthy buy.

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    1. Hi Victoria, oh I don't know, 'see and grab' can give you any number of ideas for stories I find.

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    2. Or someone puts a gun to your head and says, 'Buy that magazine that's got one of my stories in it!' tee hee.

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  5. How I identify with this post, Jennifer, as I think I definitely had a guilty addiction to glossy magazines and subscriptions at one time! You even describe what I used to do when a young mother. These days, I subscribe less and just buy one that catches my eye now and then. I also used to subscribe to too many writing magazines but have cut it down to Writing Magazine/Writers News since it's been good for me (and to me) over the years and I resubscribed to Mslexia last year but not sure how long I'll last this time. I still like sitting down with a good mag, though, rather than reading everything online.

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    1. A woman after my own heart Rosemary - thanks for dropping by. I find Mslexia doesn't really do anything for me these days - but I love their diary.

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  6. You've hit a nerve with this post, Jennie! I'm so often seduced by the 'get 10 for the price of 12' offers made around this time of year. Given that I too am a 'grab and go girl', I thought that if I subscribed to Good Housekeeping and Women and Home magazines, then I'd be saving money! Truth is that sometimes I only have time to flick through them (although I ALWAYS read the book of the month/recommended reading articles!) And I'm not even going to begin the confession concerning the writing mags I buy! But there's still something wonderful about relaxing with a coffee and a great mag.

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    1. I guess your coffee table looks a lot like mine then Rae!

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  7. Our routes to being novelists have taken a similar course, Jennie. I don't subscribe but I do buy far too magazines, far too regularly! My husband says nothing, though, as he does subscribe to - very expensive - vintage motorcycle magazines. I absolutely hate reading on line .... I force myself to read my own work if it's over 2000 words long! I love short things like blogposts, though. So it will always be magazines for me ... Woman & Home is one I can't live without. And a cookery magazine always finds its way into the monthly shop. Happy escape-time reading everyone.

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    1. Your last sentence sums it up Linda - it is happy escape time isn't it?

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  8. I used to write for glossy magazines (eg the now defunct Women's World and Options) in the 1980s and 1990s and subscribed to many of them. Nowadays I have Red magazine delivered regularly and buy others on impulse. They are such a treat.I agree with Linda - here's to magazines!

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    1. I love RED, too. Probably not written for my age group, but hey .... when did I ever act my age?

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  9. My daughter left me a copy of Red on her recent visit - great magazine. You sound as though you've had the kind of writing career I strived for - well done Guernsey Girl - and thanks for dropping by.

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  10. Sorry I've been so late responding to everyone - but the edits are about to leave the building!

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  11. Forgot to say earlier that, subscribe or not subscribe, I've had more than a few short stories out of magazine articles, and even just a picture that has caught my eye. Long may they be published!

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