Paying It Forward (Literally)

I graduated from journalism school right as the industry began to decline (great timing!). For years, I worked as a magazine editor and writer at publications that were fighting mostly losing battles with the Internet. Who wants to pay to read something when you can find it online for free?

I’m as guilty as anyone–I love to read stuff for free! But I’m also a professional writer, who expects to be paid for my work. That’s why I’ve started putting my money where my mouth is, by paying to support the writing I love. Here are some of my favorites–and a reminder that subscriptions make great holiday presents for the readers and writers in your life!

The Atlantic: I’ve subscribed to the print edition for years, and it’s my #1 absolute favorite magazine. (The website has lots of additional daily content, too.) In every single issue, I find articles that give me a fresh, non-spin perspective on current politics and culture (prime example: Caitlin Flanagan’s recent piece on abortion). I always feel smarter after reading it.

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: McSweeney’s humor columns regularly make the rounds on social media–I’ve forwarded a lot of them myself. Shouldn’t I give back as a thanks for all those laughs? Spending $5 a month as a McSweeney’s Patreon not only makes me feel good, it gets me on an email list for specific content requests, which is how I got my first McSweeney’s piece accepted this year. Sometimes doing the right thing pays off!

The Evil Witches newsletter: Do you have kids? Do they sometimes drive you insane? What about a spouse who can make you even more insane? Then you’ll love this e-mail newsletter, where “people who happen to be mothers” vent and commiserate and share advice. It always makes me laugh, and I’ve learned some helpful things, too. (Here’s a great example on dealing with mouthy kids.) I’m giving subscriptions to several “witchy” moms who could use some funny content in their in-box.

The New York Times: I bought a digital subscription so I’d always have easy access to a reputable news source that could tell me what was going on in the world. It takes money to produce tough, thoughtful journalism, so this is my own small way of supporting the freedom of the press.

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