Having announced a new series of zines, I feel the need to address past zines. As a reader, you likely want some reassurance that I won’t repeat past sins, real or imagined. This remembrance of zines past is me confronting why I wasn’t as successful with my previous endeavors in this medium.
Remembrance of Zines Past
My last zine was an ambitious effort. It ran for 5 consecutive monthly issues before I burned out. There were two key problems. The first was that the page count was too high. Writing and editing a zine that large was doable, but it was a strain. It was cutting into other project that paid the bills.
The new run is capped at 32 pages, with 24 likely to be more typical. That’s fairly typical for modern zines. I’m also setting expectations that I might skip a month now and then, for the sake of both the quality of the zine and my mental health.
That issue was, directly, my mental health. The things I wrote about in that zine were things that enraged me. News stories that I felt didn’t get enough attention. Cultural dysfunction that no one seemed to notice, or care about. Due to the page count, I found myself immersed in sorrow and woe. It was depressing, and put me into a downward spiral. I could not do that any more.
When I said the new zines would focus on minimalism, it’s because I believe it’s a philosophy that can solve a lot of problem. I describe it as a path to inner peace, and I’m certainly not going to get stressed discussing calm, kindness, and beauty. While I do also frame minimalism as a mechanism of defiance, that’s empowering to me; I have a means to exercise control over my life, in a world that constantly works to steal away my agency.
A Matter of Motivation
In short, my previous zine efforts were me screaming at the horrible things in the world. They were expressions of frustration, because things were terrible and nothing was making sense. I know that other people shared my feelings, but I remain surprised that anyone read essays questioning why the human race seemed incapable of doing better.
My new endeavors are about sharing ideas and solutions. Rather than being trapped in negativity, I want to talk about the things that have helped me. I want to put hope out into the world, by codifying some of the practices that have worked for me. It’s not going to be a polemic, but it won’t be a bunch of feel-good “live, laugh, love” crap either.
I think my new approach will not only make this zine sustainable for me as a creator, but enjoyable and worthwhile for you as a read.