Considering Zine Identity and Where to Go From Here

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10.31.14 / zines
I started this issue of One-Girl Bicycle Club months ago. I started it, and I scrapped it, and I started again. And now I’m here with an issue ready to copy and assemble, and while I’m glad to be finished, I’m still not content. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel up to potential.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of starting over with my zine. I’ve been considering a whole new identity. I started One-Girl Bicycle Club when I was a junior in college. It was my first attempt at a zine at all, and I’ve learned so much since then. I’ve read so many different other zines since then. I know I’ve changed and my tastes have changed over the least two and a half years, so I’m just not sure how I feel about it anymore.

Do I want a new name? Or just a new format? Do I want a new approach to perzines entirely? A break?

I don’t even know.

(Okay, no. Definitely not a break. I can say that with confidence.)

What I do know is that it doesn’t feel quite like it fits anymore, and I know that I feel overwhelmed with the possibilities of what it could be compared to what it is.

For a few months now I’ve been enamored with text-heavy, half-size zines (think Cometbus), and I can’t stop thinking about them. They feel so much more pensive and poignant than, well, than mine. I first modeled mine after a handful of zines that I’ve adored for years–years!–and I still do, but I don’t know if that style, that approach, is still effective for me and my goals.

Naturally, determining my goals would be a helpful approach to understanding all of this, but I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I have in mind–other than that I want my zine to be more, whatever that means. I want it to be more thoughtful, more resonating. While a facelift isn’t required for any of that, I can’t help wondering if it would give me more momentum, a clean slate, because right now I’m not feeling it. I keep wanting to put out an issue, but I can’t seem to connect with this issue enough to care about it. Sure, I’ll finish it, but I’m in no hurry. I’m not excited to release it into the world; it doesn’t feel like something worth getting excited about.

And I can’t help but wonder if a change is exactly what I need. I swapped my blog over to a self-hosted set up, redid the layout to something I love, and have been filled with nothing but ideas since then, so logic tells me that’s what I need for my zine, too: a big change, something to shake things up. So maybe I will. Maybe I’ll start from scratch–new name, new look, new everything.

Maybe not.

November 3, 2014
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  • It’s important that you feel confident and excited to put a new zine out into the world. Good luck figuring things out. I’m sure whatever you decide to do will be great.

    P.S. Absolutely loved issue #005. It was inspirational. 🙂

    • Sonya

      I cannot tell you how happy that makes me to hear because as much as I’m writing for myself, I still hope for my zines (and all my writing, really) to resonate with people. Not everyone, but at least someone.

  • the good thing about zines is that at the end of the day– it’s just words and paper. you can edit. you can cut it up. redesign it if it doesn’t feel right once it’s done. remake the whole thing.

    i’ve been wanting to make a zine but i can’t decide if i want a series under one title or lots of unrelated zines that are just by me. we can get caught up in the planning and overthinking of what things should be. wanting the end result to be perfect makes the beginning really difficult. i always have to remind myself that writing and making books and almost everything i do isn’t so black and white. it should be an iterative process– just make something and if it’s not right, start over and fix what you don’t like. the most important thing (for me) is to just *start*. something existing in a less than perfect state can be fixed and improved, but if it’s just in your head then there’s nothing to grow into something awesome.

    love your new site btw– finally catching up on blogs <3

    • Sonya

      Oh my, I love everything about this comment. Thank you so much, Jenna.

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