Zine Making a Mini Documentary

Zine-making is as easy or elaborate as you make it. Start with the supplies—for a basic zine, all you’ll need is a pen, paper, glue and a pair of scissors. From there, the possibilities are endless. Honesty, self-expression and personal satisfaction are the only core values of zine-production according to the “Cut & Paste” mini-documentary.

Quoted from: Unte Reader – How to Make your own Zine

Sell Your Writing on Etsy

Self publishing lets writers choose what they want to publish and… the format they will use. Most often the format is digital now. But… consider going back to print. You can print publish your own content without a big name publisher, or a literary agent. Self publish your own zine and distribute it online through Etsy (or other online stores like it).

I was surprised at how many zines are being distributed through Etsy, in particular. Most are sent as do-it-yourself publications, on paper and mailed out to buyers. However, there is the option of selling a digital copy which people buy and then print themselves. There are pluses and minuses for both. A digital copy is easier to distribute, no mail service involved. But, the print copy gives the writer options. A print publication can be mailed out with extras. I’ve seen publishers make their own stickers and buttons. You could also create calendars for yearly subscribers. There are a lot of extras you could do with your own print publication.

It’s a new (retro) way of self publishing.

teamzineLink: Team Zine – Etsy Teams

Celebrate your own Milestones

4. Celebrate your own milestones. Defining your own success will be your best bet. Don’t start comparing numbers and statistics. Just concentrate on WHO you want to connect with, and make sure you’re connecting with them.We are all better off with a hundred readers who are really engaged with us than a thousand who couldn’t care less. That’s why it is best to create a blog you love first.So, concentrate on creating milestones within your control. For example, “Create a ‘100 List’ on my blog.” Or “Create my first series on X topic, with five blog posts at a minimum.” Or maybe “Find the best looking blog theme within my budget of X.” Or, “Print X amount of blog posts into a hard copy book.”These are things that you can control. Not the number of readers or comments your blog has. Hopefully, if you’re doing the right thing, then those other things will follow too.

Source: The Case for Non-Niche Blogging — Life, Inspired

We compare ourselves to others far too much and not so well (for ourselves). I know I don’t stop and give myself credit very often. Or, when I do, I make it fast and shove it aside to make way for other things I haven’t done yet. That’s sad. We don’t really take the time to feel accomplished. If you look backwards you can see a trail of accomplishments you’ve left behind you, mostly forgotten.

Settling for Less in Print

Words are beautiful but they need rulesThis is about typos and publishing. How many typos did you find in the last print book you read? What about the newspaper? Compare that to web publications, blogs included? Do you see a trend?

I can remember when finding a typo in a published book was rare. I wish they were still rare. These days I usually find at least one in each book I read. Often they are obvious typos not just something spell check software could catch but something a human proofreader would have (or should have) noticed and fixed.

On the web there have always been typos, outright spelling and grammar mistakes. On the web we are writers without editors, proofreaders or back up staff. Most of us still write our own sites. We publish, maintain and do our own public relations and marketing too. We are our own tech support and once we leave the keyboard the whole operation leaves with us. So, there are uncaught typos, at the very least.

But the standards overall are slipping. Ignorance is part of it. You don’t need to be hired or pass a test to start publishing on the web. I think this has begun to infect the print publishers too. Why be so careful, so particular if you can get away with a casual typo or a relaxed style of punctuation, spelling and grammar? Why spend all that money hiring proofreaders to maintain a standard which seems to be disappearing?

I don’t like settling for less.

As a reader of print books the errors in print have begun to make me feel cheated. Once I felt I could rely on print publications to learn correct forms of writing. Now, I feel annoyed to pay full price for a book when publishers seem to have abandoned that diligence.

Words are beautiful but they need rules to work well with others.

Zine Making

Have you ever put together a zine? Do you even know what a zine is?

A zine should be creative with art too. Maybe some fiction or cartoon drawings. Personal essays and rants and artistic commentary all belong in a wide variety of zines I have seen and admired.

If you were going to take on the experiment of publishing your own zine, what would you make it? Once you pull together a plan think of a great name for the zine.

You may never actually put together a zine but you could take an hour to imagine yourself as a trendy, arty, underground or indie publisher of a zine.

How to Write a Good Newsletter

We used to make zines with typed and photocopied pages. Those were the old days, before desktop publishing, computers and the whole concept of publishing on the Internet. Now, people are creating email newsletters to promote their online services and businesses. In between are the old, real newsletters which can still be created, written, planned, published and distributed to make money in the real (offline) world.

Consider making money with a real newsletter, in real print (not on the Internet).

Consider how many online newsletters you have actually read lately compared to the actual print newsletter which you pick up while you are out somewhere and likely read during some of your offline down time. I read the same print newsletter every month. It’s distributed through the family restaurant where I like to have a leisurely breakfast out a few times a month. I watch for the latest newsletter there. It’s sponsored by local businesses (it makes money by publishing their ads) and the content is light and simple. If the same content were on a website I would pass it by. But, when I’m just sitting there, enjoying a slow pace, that newsletter gets read and I enjoy it.

The print newsletter is not dead, it’s just a little rusty, dusty and over looked.

Make money writing a print newsletter you can distribute in your local community. Once you have a basic product (the newsletter) get paid advertising to make money from it all.

Open Source (Free) Graphics Editors

Desktop Publishing Software

The Business Plan

Start by looking at what sort of newsletter already exists in your area. You can get ideas from them and decide how you will compete with them. What could you bring that would get new readers, bring new information and attract local businesses to advertise in your newsletter?

Talk to local businesses and see who would be interested in in advertising and what kind of money they would consider fair and reasonable. It would be a good plan to approach them with a mock up of your print newsletter and a distribution plan. This way you will be ready to answer (at least some of) their questions.

Printing and Distributing the Newsletter

You need to find a local printer. Try offering free ad space in exchange for a discount on the cost of printing the newsletter. But, don’t choose a printer based on price alone. You want someone who can print the newsletter on time, without printing errors. One thing you can do is ask about left over paper stock from other jobs they have printed. You could get a bargain on paper someone else ordered and then didn’t use.

Printers can fold and/ or staple newsletters for you but that is an extra cost. Consider doing your own folding – at least until you are making money and can afford to spend on a few nice extras.

Is your newsletter being distributed in store fronts or mailed out? Options for distribution need to be considered based on cost, effectiveness and how well you can track the issues you put out versus how many were read by people. You need to know this for your advertisers. They want to know their ads are being seen.

Passive distribution means you leave your newsletter in public areas where people will pick it up. Active distribution means you have to know who you are sending your newsletter to, you will need to create and build up a mailing list of subscribers. If you use active distribution you can also consider having paying subscribers versus free subscriptions. People might pay for a subscription to a print newsletter if the content were valuable to them in particular. A general sort of newsletter isn’t likely to find a lot of people interested in paid subscriptions.

Read More

How to Write a Christmas Newsletter

Publishing a Hyper Local Print Newsletter

Small publishing and distributing a print newsletter with ads, to make some money. Could you do it? Would you do it? Is a small community newsletter/ newspaper a good idea for a home based business, for you?

Articlesbase: What Does it take to Publish a Community Magazine?

Newspapers Canada FAQ

Chron: How do Free Community Papers Make Money?

AZCentral: How do Free Community Papers Make Money?

eHow: How to Create Fliers for Free – a bit of desktop publishing using non-traditional software.

How to Publish a Small Newspaper

Tools Needed to Start a Newspaper Business

How to Start a Newspaper

How to Make Money with a Local Newspaper

How to Start a Small Newspaper Business

Great Things to do While Unemployed (or Underemployed)

I read a sensible post about things you can do while you are unemployed. It was sensible. Probably practical even. But, it did not deal with the issue of keeping your soul alive, your spirits up and your creative energy high while you go through the ups and downs of being unemployed.

Being without a job is bad enough. You need that nice, lovely pay cheque. (Yes, that’s Canadian spelling).

However, the worst part about being unemployed is how it makes you feel. Some days you just don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to talk to anyone or be seen by anyone. These kind of days you could happily wear your pajamas and check email from under the blankets in your bed all day. But, that won’t be a good thing.

The more you close yourself off the more you disappear from the world and become cut off from everything. At the time it feels like this is just what you want. But, really, it isn’t what you want at all.

We all want to be vital and important and someone who is up and coming and out there. We all want to be a somebody!

Just because you are unemployed, somewhat financially challenged and feeling kind of down… that doesn’t make you an instant hermit.

So, this is the time in your life when you most need to push yourself out there into the world. Like a baby chick just leaving the nest, you have to step out of your comfortable, reliable nest and dodge cats, watch out for cars and other hard objects in your flight path and find your spirit again.

This is a time to bring yourself out again. Dust off who you really are versus the person you became to suit the job you used to have. We all change to suit, like a chameleon. Now is a great time to snap back into your non-chameleon self.

Rediscover who you are.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but take some personality quizes. There are lots of them online. Take the silly ones and the serious ones. Try the Myers Brigg personality test and find out your four little letters.

Use all this information. Weed out the stuff that doesn’t sound like the real you. The stuff that is leftover from the employed you.

Now go do something that the real you would like to do.

Rediscover your hobbies, your passions and the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning.

Think back in your life, what did you love when you had time to love something outside of your regular family and work life? Think all the way back to when you were a kid if you have to go that far back. Did you write penpal letters, did you fly remote controlled airplanes, did you crochet?… Somewhere in your past there is something you love and have had to put aside while you focused on work, career or business instead.

Bring your old passions back into your life now, when you need some passion and motivation.

Keep a plan, a schedule of some kind each day too.

Writers can spend one hour writing each day, for instance. An artist can go to a new location each afternoon and paint, photograph, etc. Read up on new skills in your area of work. There is always something new you can learn. Join a local group involved in something in your field of work. Get out there and attend the meetings.

Or, become involved in local issues. Go to the town meetings, find out about the issues in your area. Become involved in change. Be a voice people will hear. (But, don’t be a jerk about it).

Volunteer somewhere. Don’t look at lists of places actually looking for a volunteer and leave it at that. Go to community groups, associations, societies, etc. and ask if they would like a volunteer. Suggest things you could do, things you would like to do and things you are good at doing. Yes, it’s a good way to keep involved and you can keep on top of skills you have and build up your experience, those are all good, practical reasons to volunteer. But, really, it’s about having something to do, a schedule and people who will be counting on you to appear and accomplish things.

Even if you do nothing else – get out of your home area at least one hour every day. Don’t become a gradual shut-in hermit type. That just isn’t you. Plus, you’ll get that weird smell.

Meet new people.

Just smile at someone as you pass by, for a start. When you buy a coffee, start small talk with the cashier. Cashiers are great at small talk. So you don’t have to do much once you start the ball rolling and begin the conversation. A short, simple conversation while you pay for your coffee, groceries, lumber, whatever. A small thing like that can make a big difference in how you feel. Without some kind of social (real, not online) contact you can start feeling disassociated, cut off from the rest of the people on the planet.

Try something new to you.

It may be an art like photography, or a craft like knitting, or skill you can learn like bookkeeping. Keep your brain evolving. Trying something new and having to make your brain work is a good thing. Failing and then learning and continuing to try are also great things for you now. You won’t like the learning curve while you work on this new skill but the accomplished feeling you get once you become good will be well worth the momentary frustration of learning something new.

Create a Crazy Resume

You’ll be writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing your resume countless times. So take one of those times to go crazy with it. Play and have fun with the whole resume thing. Break the rules.

Add colour to your resume. Doodle on the margins, Highlight words, whatever you like. Print it on coloured paper. Use coloured fonts. Draw in crayon on it if you want to.

Add silly skills to your resume. Add things like master teeth brusher, independent car washer, amateur kite flyer, anything you have actually done but would never add to a resume. You may even find yourself discovering a skill worth adding once you stop being so serious about analyzing your skills and experience. But, that isn’t the point. Make yourself sound all puffed up and important for the bits of nothing, the silly skills and all the other stuff we take for granted about ourselves.

Stick your crazy resume up where it can be seen. Someone will laugh about it. Someone will be slightly jealous over your creativity and someone will copy the idea. It’s all good.

You probably shouldn’t send that resume to anyone, in a professional sort of way. But, aren’t you curious about what would happen it you did? You might actually hear back from some of those stuffed shirts who never reply to anything. Kind of tempting isn’t it? Of course, I can’t officially recommend anyone actually sending a crazy resume…

It’s Just a Silly Job Interview

Get together with friends and do job interviews for jobs you make up or would never actually apply for. Go big and interview to the the new owner of McDonalds or WalMart. What does it matter? Go small and interview to be the under-manager of shower curtain inspection. Something silly and non-existent (I hope. Surely there isn’t someone going around inspecting shower curtains in people’s homes).

Do all the really awful interview questions.

  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What do you consider a weakness in yourself?
  • Are you a team player?

But, have fun with it all. Poke fun at the interview process and the questions they ask. Laugh about it all.

Freelance, Consultant or Start your own Business?

Consider going freelance, setting yourself up as a consultant or starting your own business. This is a time when you might find DIY works for you. Sure it’s a risk and you could fail. But, you have time to make plans, find resources and see how much you can do without spending a lot of money.

Go to the library and read information online about freelancing and consulting. What areas of existing business could really use your skills, not as an employee but an outside contractor?

Look around your neighbourhood, what service is needed that you could provide? Where do you see a need you could fill? Keep it practical. Don’t go over your head when it comes to the money you would need to start up or the time and energy it would take to maintain your business/ service.

Start with a business plan. What do you want to do and how feasible is your idea? A well thought out business plan can really help you understand what you are doing, the risks, the chances for success and how other people with similar businesses and services can fit in with your new business or service.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to start the next Tim Horton’s (huge Canadian coffee shop), or be your own Mr. WalMart, etc. Your business just needs to bring in the income you need for your needs. It’s perfectly ok to think local and think small. You don’t have to go in for a world domination plot. Leave that pressure for the next generation.

It’s All About YOU!

Bring, and keep yourself, out of your shell. Don’t sink into a depression, or a decline like a romance novel heroine of old.

Use this free time to your advantage to build yourself up and bring back the creativity, inspiration and passion you had to suppress while you were being a devoted worker bee.

Not only will you feel better emotionally and physically but you will sound better when you do apply for a job and write a real resume. It’s funny how your attitude and emotions leak out even when you think you are being the perfect professional. So, keep yourself feeling strong.

Best wishes to you!

Creative Drawing

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.
Drawing 101
By Joan Martine Murphy


Most people would love to be able to draw what they see. Many people find enormous pleasure in the art of self-expression. Sadly the idea of learning to draw skillfully is quite daunting for a high percentage of people of the Western World. This is sometimes due to negative experiences that have come from early child hood.

Drawing is a form of communication, which can allow us to express ourselves when words will not suffice. This simple art form affords us the opportunity to express our emotions in a safe and pleasurable manner. Many people for example find that the simple exercise of drawing negative emotions which are then ceremoniously torn to shreds or burnt away – is a useful, safe way to deal with them. The exercise allows the artist to move on to a more relaxed and harmonious and peaceful happiness state.

Maps, symbols, colours, expressions and many other elements of design convey meaning and help us to construct a world of illusion. They help us re-present our reality. This can be useful, informative, recreational and healing. Continue reading Creative Drawing