Technical Difficulties (Hello, Monday!)

Hello, zine friends! I hope this post finds you well and starting your week with wonderful things.

Mondays are usually for mail opening videos, but alas, this Monday has brought technical difficulties here. What started as trying to get my video editing software to work has ended up being a grand affair which has left my computer, well, repairing at the moment. (Wanderer is the more technical person.)

I know I could post something a bit ‘rougher’, but I’d really rather keep with how I do things now.

Does that make me a stickler? Probably. Haha. It’s been a battle between the part of me that prizes consistency in what I do and the part of me that wants to keep (and improve, of course) what I’m already doing.

This is the point when I wonder if I’m overthinking. Haha.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that everything will be sorted by tomorrow.

Especially as I have something special planned for the podcast on Wednesday…

Until next time!

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Your Zine Is Awesome – Stop the Negative Self-Talk (Repost)

I posted this one a year and some back, but I think it bears repeating.

Yep, your zine is awesome.

I know, I haven’t seen it, but I know it’s awesome. It’s not finished? That’s okay! You started, and that’s amazing. You haven’t started yet? That’s okay! You have a creative idea and/or urge. That in and of itself is wonderful.

Sticky Institute

I’ve said it plenty of times, and I’ll say it again: One of the beautiful things about zines is that they come in so many shapes and sizes, topics and types of materials, colours and cuts. The diversity is amazing, and I continue to be impressed by all the amazing things people think of and create.

Because of this, I feel sad when a creator calls their work ‘shit’ or says their zine isn’t very good. Especially when it’s in comparison to another zine.

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Comparison in the zine world (and plenty of other things) is comparison that doesn’t need to happen – and definitely shouldn’t happen if you’re using it to be negative about what you create. Half-fold is no better or worse than a one-page mini. Stapling is no better or worse than sewing.

The only thing a zine needs to be true to is itself. Beer and Longing is gorgeous with its Japanese binding because it tied into the overall Japanese aesthetic and theme.

But that sort of binding, as beautiful as it is, would have been a bit strange on Instructions for surviving the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: In rhyming couplets because the beauty of that zine lies in its utterly appropriate simplicity.

And if absolutely nothing in your zine relates to the next bit because that’s the way you like it, that’s great, too.

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I’m not here to be all fluffy lala about this. I struggle a lot with the concept that neither art nor human can be universally loved.

But I am here to tell you that whether someone likes your zine or not is a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact. Opinion is fluid and flexible – and heavily influenced by the world around us.

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What I’m trying to say here is, in part, selfish. I have this strange affection for looking at the creations other people come up with. I want to know what people bring into the world when given the space and freedom to do so.

The last thing I ever want to see, hear, or read is anyone being negative about their own work, because negativity stops creativity. I don’t ever want to hear people talking about what they ‘should’ do with their work rather than what they want to do.

So Many Zines

Sure, who am I to say ‘I don’t want to see this’? No one other than a person who wants to see you create whatever you want to create regardless of what anyone else is creating.

Pursue your bliss.

Fairy Godmother for Zinesters (Teehee)

Have you ever read something and, while you know there’s a whole bigger picture to what you’re reading, you can’t help but focus on one little detail?

That’s me today.

Carrie Mercer, who writes for a series I love – Xerography Debt – was kind enough to have a short chat with me about The Zine Collector.

Nyx struggles with anxiety issues and says she is “made of marshmallow fluff,” which I think somehow makes her the perfect fairy godmother for zinesters.

Hehehe. What a gorgeous compliment.

Check out ‘The Zine Collector – Column by Carrie Mercer‘ if you’d like to read about the podcast and my thoughts about making it – or keep an eye out for it in Xerography Debt #43!

51 (More) Ideas for Your Next Zine

So Many Zines

Inspiration is a fickle thing. You never know where it’ll strike, but you also can’t wait around for it to do so if you want to get anything done. 51 Ideas for Your Next Zine was helpful to people, so I figured I’d help out with another list. Here are…

51 (More) Ideas for Your First/Next Zine

In no particular order…

  1. Say it without words (make a wordless zine)
  2. Your favourite recipe & the story behind it
  3. Take a day/week/etc off the internet & document your thoughts
  4. Your favourite conspiracy theory
  5. Your favourite mystery
  6. Three people (living or dead) come to dinner…
  7. Who are you in an alternate timeline? What if you’d made different choices?
  8. Dreams/nightmares
  9. Goals/aspirations
  10. What comes after capitalism/consumerism?
  11. Something you’ve always wanted to learn
  12. Books you want to write/comics you want to make/stories you want to tell
  13. Dream job that doesn’t exist
  14. Your very mild superpower
  15. Play tourist in your town
  16. Character profile (real or fictional)
  17. Guilty pleasures
  18. Bucket list (things to do before ___)
  19. What you’d do with $1 million (silly or serious)
  20. Write by hand (it activates different parts of the brain than typing does)
  21. Brainstorm your next project
  22. Create a survey and share the results
  23. Go through any childhood papers/art you have
  24. Do a life audit
  25. One thing you’ve learned for each year of life you’ve lived
  26. What inspires you
  27. Who inspires you
  28. Your own life hacks
  29. Make something with a friend
  30. Try blackout poetry
  31. The Tourist’s Guide to Your Life
  32. The Beginner’s Guide to ___
  33. Things you wish for (big and small)
  34. Things you wish people knew about you the moment they met you
  35. Your dream workspace/studio (bonus points for drawing it!)
  36. Write a manifesto
  37. How I Got Started ___
  38. People you would like to meet
  39. Try something “for kids” (they’re still fun activities)
  40. Something you couldn’t finish for whatever reason
  41. Create a puzzle (crossword, sudoku, etc) to include in your zine
  42. What makes you happy?
  43. Who/What has positively influenced you?
  44. Turn it into art (take that as you will)
  45. Explore ‘generators’ online – vampire name generatorShakespeare insult generator, etc
  46. Your ideal phone app
  47. Go ‘random article surfing‘ on Wikipedia
  48. Imagine a life story for a stranger
  49. Your muse
  50. What your pets get up to after you go to sleep…
  51. Check out my first 51 Ideas for Your Next Zine

Upcoming Zine Projects

Hello, zine friends!

I really love this picture. I could have taken it at a better angle or done something ‘better’ photographically, but it still inspires me when I’m ready to start taking on the world. I’d like to put it into a photo zine one day, but I’m terribly nervous that my photos aren’t ‘good enough’.

Ah, the common doubts in all of us.

As much as I find it useful to keep my mouth shut on projects and just get them done – too many projects lost to talk in my past – but it can be good to write or talk things out to get your thoughts in order. Writing a task down can be a step toward making it a reality.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m working on now:

Dream Zine

A zine idea borne of an excited conversation on the Zines & Zinesters Discord channel. We were chatting about zines, and I mentioned how I’ve wanted to make a dream zine but thought people weren’t interested in them.

Well, I was wrong. Haha.

I haven’t picked out a title just yet, but I’m excited to be working on a zine about my somewhat strange dreams and some dream journeys I’ve taken.

Paper Currency 2

I’ve been wanting to work on this since the first one came out, as I am eager to get this series really rolling. A few people have been sending in fliers, and I’m so excited about what’s to come in the future of this zine.

In the first one, zinemakers wrote about their first zines (whether the ones they made or the first they discovered). In this one, I’m thinking more along the lines of pieces about how zinemaking has changed you as a person or helped you.

If you think you have around 500 words (very flexible on this, though) to say on the subject, let me know!

I should note that I don’t know if I can send out contributor copies because they cost me $9 a pop to send. It hurts to say that, but I’m going to have to accept certain things about my life currently and act accordingly. So if you don’t mind the possibility of not getting a contributor copy but still want to write, please let me know.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m ready to go back to my perzine series Don’t Call Me Cupcake. The last issue and mini-issue I wrote were so good for me therapeutically but also took a lot out of me. I’m not sure if I’m ready to write about my life again in that way just yet. But it has been playing on my mind.

What else has been playing on my mind is my next novel. I’m still at a loss of how to balance all my time, but technically it’s a current project…

That’s it for today, zine friends. Are you working on something? Care to share? Let me know about it in the comments (even if it’s not a zine!).

Bits & Bobs & General Admin

Hello and happy Tuesday, zine friends. It’s nearly Wednesday at the time I’m typing this. February is doing an excellent job of flying by.

I’ve been plugging away at various things that have been on my to-do list for ages, and I’m very happy to announce that Dear Anonymous 7 is finally done!

I don’t know what I was thinking by setting the deadline around the move time last year, but that’s all said and done now. The contributor copies are packed up and ready to be popped into the mail tomorrow morning.

On the other bits and bobs, the zine review index is all updated now. I’m considering doing some sort of list of upcoming zine reviews, but I’m not sure if anyone would be interested. Let me know.

On a very positive note:

The Zine Collector podcast is now on Spotify! My podcast host, Pippa, had a meeting with Spotify, and TZC was on the list for consideration. Woo!

Unfortunately, it does make hosting the podcast a bit more expensive, which is what brings me to my next little note.

I have had a patreon for a few months now, and it has been immensely helpful in getting by with Etsy fees and the like.

The thing is that I know I wouldn’t be able to commit to a monthly donation myself with the way things are. I’ve always been one to prefer having the option on hand for one-off donations when and where I can.

It’s with that in mind that I set up a Ko-Fi, which is a quick and easy way to make a one off ‘coffee’ donation.

I feel like I am risking people thinking of less of me for doing this. That some people may hold it against me. But things are also in a way right now and finances are keeping me from doing a lot (like sending out contributor copies on time and restocking supplies like printer ink).

I definitely don’t want anyone to put themselves into strife for it. My only intention is that it’s there if you’re able and feel so inclined.

That’s it for me tonight, zine friends. Please forgive if I’m a bit scattered. I’m looking forward to going to sleep after I post this.

Until next time…

A Quick Note About Zine Sizes

Hello, zine friends! This came up on the Zine Discord server, so I thought I would mention it here.

In my reviews, I try to mention what size a zine is. Not so much with the number of pages but with the actual size of the zines are. However, you may have noticed that I switch between the international “A” system and just saying “1/2 size” or “1/4” size.

This, believe it or not, is intentional.

When I say something is A5, A6, etc, well, that’s because it’s made to the dimensions of the “A” system. When I say “1/2 fold” or “1/4 size”, that’s when I’m referencing US sizes (or ‘not quite ‘A’ sizes’).

If it’s at all confusing, here is a rough – and I mean rough – idea of how they equal each other.

A4 = full page/full piece of paper
A5 = 1/2 fold
A6 = 1/4 size
A7 = one-page folded mini-zine

It’s by no means an exact method – the measurements definitely aren’t the same. However, it may give you a better idea of what I’m talking about if you were at all confused.

Until next time!