Back in the day, the prospect of getting your work published seemed only possible for the select few.
To get work published in the mainstream? You'd likely need a connection with a publisher, financial support to sustain you, the time and ability to put together 100+ pages of work deemed publishable to a publisher.
Zines have been a thing for decades. Still, their popularity as underground publications has flourished like tulips in spring. Zines offer something unique. Having creative control over your own voice, work, and desired outcomes.
And, there's a special kind of zine that everyone should consider making! The perzine!
What is a Perzine?
Let's step back a moment.
A zine (z-ee-n) is a sort of self-published work in a small, often handmade booklet. Zine's subject matter varies massively from poetry, art, photography, doodles, abstract, education, and so much more.
Perzine stands for personal zine! It's a zine created around one's personal experience, observation, or opinions. Perzines matter and are some of the best zines! It's hard to describe the feeling you get reading a perzine, but and their insights and stories are hard to find anywhere else.
1. Share Your Experience of the World— It Matters!
"What have I got to say that matters?" You might have asked yourself?
More than you know!! Our world revolves around scientific inquiry to understand the human experience to do better as a human race. Understanding lived experiences of our communities counts for everything. What I'm trying to say is you're the expert of your own experience.
Your own experience of anything and everything matter. From how you like your coffee to your experience with mental health, or body image for example.
I read many perzines, and I learn something special from them all. These are some of my most favorite and cherished zines.
2. Creating a Zine is Wonderful for Your Mental Health
The great thing about making a perzine is that the subject matter doesn't need to be profound or earth-shattering. But the impact on your mental health can be.
The mere process of creating a zine can take you away from the heavy things happening in your life, if just for a moment. Zine-making is similar to journaling in many ways. You're just taking it a step further and creating the format for the pages as well.
What you choose to create could be a simple encounter with an ant you noticed rummaging through the earth one day. Or it could be to document something heavier in your life, like an experience with your health. I'm creating a zine documenting my experiences with alopecia (hair loss) and its impact on my body image, for example. It was a difficult time, and I've found the process therapeutic.
Check out some of these perzines for creative inspiration.
3. Learn a New Skill
College, drawing, poetry, writing, zine layout, and assembly. You could even make the zine about learning a new skill. Oh yeah!!
Zine-making touches on many different creative techniques in a very non-intimidating way. This is because the whole premise around a zine is its imperfection. I find the more imperfect the zine, the rougher and put together with scribbles and mistakes, the closer I feel to the zine-makers work.
In zine-making there's no need for expensive materials, you can often source most of the materials from your own home! If you can find a sheet of paper, a pen or pencils, and scissors, you're on your way to making a zine!!
There is a tone of useful youtube videos that can help show you how to fold a zine and different techniques. The best place to begin is just to begin. Pick a topic, your favorite plants? Foods or recipes that you love?
The ideas for new zines will roll in like lava once you start!
4. The Zine Community
If seeking a like-minded community that celebrates our differences, origins, and unique experiences. The zine community— with its heart in creating safe spaces —is a good place to be.
It can feel vulnerable sharing something you've made with your own hands with the world, but I urge you to try. With community brings a sense of purpose and belonging. When it comes to zines, there are many ways you can become part of this beautiful DIY community.
Join a Facebook group sharing zines and zine culture.
Attend a zine festival (zinefest) in your city (don't forget to bring some of those freshly made zines to swap and trade). Instagram also has a thriving zine community of creators sharing their zine creations. Libraries and independent bookstores are other communities that are growing their zine collections and often accept zine donations.
You could also consider contributing as part of a collaborative zine with a group.
Once you get started, you'll quickly see your zine community all around you.
Okay, time to dig out some paper. Let's make that zine!
Image Credit: Matthew Henry