I spent yesterday (I think it was yesterday) reorganizing my zines a little bit, making a second box to store them in because the first was overflowing, then deciding how to rearrange them on the bookcase. I’m still not sure if I’m completely happy with the arrangement, but it works for now.
Over the past three or four years, since I bought my first zines and started reading and writing them, I’ve really fallen in love with them. Zine making is one form of creating that makes me the happiest and helps me feel the most productive. It keeps my hands occupied, can be done while listening to music or watching TV, and is such an open-ended project to begin with.
Lately, zines have become really important to me in a lot of ways, including those below. They’ve inspired me, helped me make some cool connections, and even brought me to Chicago (along with the chance to visit my friend Emma for the first time). Zines are such a powerful thing for as simple as they can be, so here are five benefits I’ve found since first getting involved.
- Making new friends. I’ve discovered some really cool people through zines. Some of them I’m actually friends with, some of them I’d like to be friends with someday, but haven’t made the first step to yet. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to find others who are interested in the same topics as you are. And as I said, zines helped bring me to the Chicago Zine Fest and my friend Emma for the first time in March, where I met some of my favorite and most inspiring zinesters.
- Creative freedom. I can write and draw whatever I want in my zines. If I want to talk about five different topics in one issue, that’s totally fine because there’s no one to say that I can’t. If I want to do an issue entirely of pieces from one of my creative writing classes, I can do that. If I want to talk about myself the whole time, that’s an option. If I want to make a zine with nothing but cartoon cats, I can go right ahead! The possibilities are endless because you don’t need permission.
- A schedule is optional. Sometimes (usually) it takes me months to write an issue. It took me years to even get my first one done. And while it’s nice to finally get it done, I don’t have to feel rushed, instead taking my time, picking and choosing the best pieces of writing to include. There are some things I’m not good at doing on a deadline, and writing zines is one of them. Zines become something I work on while putting together other projects. They’re the right kind of occupying.
- Trades! Even though they don’t necessarily make money, that’s not what this is about. Trades can be even more fun because you’re sharing a part of yourself and getting a part of someone else in return. (Does that sound creepy?) It’s like someone saying that you’re equals. Your zine is worth their zine.
- The feeling when you get an order/trade request. This is probably one of my favorite parts. While trades are their own benefit, the feeling get when someone asks for one or submits and order is astounding; I never cease to be amazed and excited. I always think, “Someone wants to read my writing. They’re interested in what I have to say!” There’s this little feeling of pride and elation when someone shows interest in my zines.
Additionally, some great resources for zines include:
Let me know if you order any, are interested in mine, or just have your own thoughts to share. And if you write your own, what benefits would you list?