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How To Make A Zine: Gathering Ideas

I keep a little writer's notebook in my purse at all times for when I think of something cool on the fly. A lot of the time, that is either story ideas for an upcoming book or ideas for an upcoming zine.  I believe that there are two ways to come up with content for zines.  The first is to just release your brain onto the page, through the first expressive art or thoughtful words that come to mind.  The second way is to plot it out in pieces and eventually put it all together.

If you know me at all you're probably thinking, "Yes.  #2 is definitely the direction Marian would go in."

How very right you are!

The point of this blog series is to show you how I'm putting together The Many Journals of Marian Elizabeth so I'll start from the beginning.

The Idea

If you've read my Write It Down zine, you know that I love to keep a journal, both as a way to document my life and also as a way to stay creative in my daily life.  While Write it Down is more of a journal resource (with a few personal anecdotes thrown in for good measure), I knew that I wanted to write a more personal piece about all of my different journals and the different uses for them.

The Title

I was floating around with the idea of using the same title as before and just slapping a Part II on it, but then I came up with The Many Journals of Marian Elizabeth.  It's simple and it explains what the content will be about.  Sold!


With some personal zines, the content just flows out of you because it's pieces of your own life.  With this zine, however, I wanted to do some mind mapping first to try and organize my thoughts.

Normally, in the middle will be the title - The Many Journals of Marian Elizabeth.  This is just an example so I wrote "my ideas" to exemplify that these are my ideas for the zine.

Different Branches from the map:

Introduction, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College, Art journal, Writer's notebook, Bullet journal, Using a planner like a journal.  I wound up deviating from this list but who knows?  I haven't starting my first draft yet.


I am definitely not the best artist, but I like to think I can put together a pretty good layout for a zine. I specialize in paper arranging as well as little illustrations here and there.  For this zine, I knew I wanted to have some pictures of journals and journaling accessories so that's what I set to work to do.

This is a picture from my Write It Down zine but I've been thinking about revamping it for The Many Journals of Marian Elizabeth.


After I examine my mind map for a bit, I like to work out a rough outline so I can work on what I want to say, as well as create transitions between each topic.  Writing from the outline is what helps me keep my content organized and concise.

Homework Assignment

My homework assignment before my next blog post is to finish my mind mapping and use that to create an outline for my content.  Care to follow along and create your own topic? Post it on your social media like your blog, instagram, or tumble, and let me know in the comments!

Take care,
to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

How to Make A Zine: Introduction

For those of you who don't know, i've been making zines for about half the time that I've been reading them.  The concept of zines and zine making was so fascinating to me way back in 2011, but I had no idea where to start.

A couple of years later I made my first foray into Perzines (or personal zines) and I've never looked back.  It's a wonderful way to put yourself out there and express your thoughts.

As a special project, I'm going to document my next zine from start to finish on the blog.  I get a lot of questions on etsy, tumblr, and in real life about the topic and so I thought it would be fun to share my creative process for others to learn.

Any questions?  Please feel free to ask anything in the comments and I will address it in the next post. I'm not an expert, but no one is.  It's all about being creative and expressing yourself. :)

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Introduction (this post)

Part 2: Gathering Ideas

Part 3: Content Creation

Part 4: The "Making" Part

Part 5: Publishing & Distribution

Part 6: Zine Resources

I hope you'll join me in this fun examination of what my creative process is for making a zine.  First post will be published on Saturday April 29th, so make sure to check back!  I'll be talking about how to gather your thoughts and coming up with cool ideas!

Take care,
to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

Planner Update: How I Stay Organized In My Daily Life

Hello again, organized friends!  I'm writing this post from the computer at my part time job.  It's a quiet evening and they don't care if we use the computers for personal things as long as we pay attention to the customers.  Haha.

Something that I've been focusing on lately is productivity in my creative life.  And one of the best ways to do that is to plan!  In this blog post I'm going to share some information on the different planners I use in my daily life and how I stay organized and productive because of them.

So let's get started!

1.  Moleskine Grid Notebook

I purchased this yellow grid moleskine notebook many moons ago, but for the longest time it just sat on my shelf because I didn't know what to do with it.  That's what I like to call notebook anxiety.  It's when you have this beautiful and pristine notebook but you don't want to write in it for fear that you'll ruin it.

Below, you can see an example of how I utilize my moleskine.  I do a two page spread for every day. On the left I keep a food & exercise log, because I'm trying to be more conscious about eating.  On the right, I plan out my to-do list for the day of everything I want to do during the day.

2017 is the first year that I've kept a notebook like this and I feel like it's been helping me accomplish a lot!  I'm hoping that it will teach me to be a better

2.  Happy Planner

I love my Happy Planner from Michael's.  The pretty pattern & the great colors definitely make me happy!  I also like that it's larger because it gives me a good look at my week.  And my last favorite part is that it has spiral binding which means that I can leave it open on my nightstand so that I always know what's going on!

Here's an example of what my week looks like,  In the middle divider, I have a list of blog posts that I wanted write that week. Sometimes I will write my grocery list there if I know I am running out of food and need to go shopping.

As far as my daily tasks go I have My Day Job, My part-time job, appointments, social activities, date nights, exercise goals, and reminders (like to turn in my electronic time card after work on Fridays).  That one is very important because if you don't turn your time card in on time you don't get paid for that week.
Similar Posts:

3.  Moleskine Planner

I've never had a moleskine planner before.  This is my little planner that I keep in my purse during my day to day travels.  It's 

I suppose this planner is a little redundant because the things that I mark in here are already marked in my happy planner and in my regular moleskine notebook, but I don't care.  I like having a thin planner that's easy to carry around with me.

Question for you:

It's 2017 and there are so many options!  What is your planner of choice?

Take care,
to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

Productivity Experiment: Can I Get ALL the Things Done On My Day Off?

The Experiment

Do you ever look at other people's blogs and businesses and wonder how they fit it all in?  There's so much to do that I feel like you really have to budget your time in order to see the success that you want to see.  The experiment that I am trying today is to block out my time in chunks in order to get all of the work for my blog (along with a little bit of fiction writing) done for today.  Let's see how it goes!

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Worked on 3 blog posts.  This included writing the content, taking the pictures, as well as scheduling the posts.

  1. Entrepreneur Experiment: Focusing on Quantity of Sales for 1 month in my Etsy Business
  2. Planner Update: How I Stay Organized In My Daily Life
  3. Blog Series: How to Make A Zine

(As well as working on this blog post, since I'm basically updating this throughout the day!)

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Worked on Get Over It rewrites for half an hour.  I suppose you could consider this a free write.  I'm just working on writing scenes right now and putting them together in chronological order later.  This is a back burner project.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch break!  I ate some leftover lasagna from Friday night and watched an episode of That 70's Show.  I also put dinner in the crockpot, cooked some hamburger for meal prepping this week, and started boiling water for rice.  I picked up my closet and switched a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Worked on 2 blog posts for the hour.  This included writing the content.
  1. How to Make a Zine: Gathering Ideas
  2. How to Make a Zine: Content Creation

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Worked on materials I need for the blog posts I mentioned in my last blog post.

  1. Example of a Mind Map

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

It's very nice out today so I went for a good, long walk!  Listened to The Creative Penn podcast while I walked and it made me feel super excited to get things done and enhance my writing business.

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Yard work.  Sigh.  My Dad needed help weeding the yard and since I'm the only "kid" at home, I'm the one who has to help out.  Haha. It went fine though and we're getting our yard back into shape for summer.

Done for the day (kind of.  But not really.)

I would have liked to fit in a few more things today, but I wasn't quite as organized as I would have liked.  That's ok!  It's just about 8 PM as I finish writing this post and I have a few more things I would like to accomplish, like write some more of Get Over It and finish a few more details for my blog posts this week.

All in all I still feel like I got a lot done.  Cheers to a productive Sunday.  Next Sunday I will be kind of sort of serving food at a post-christening brunch but then I'll come home and start where I left off.

Take care,

P.S.  I know I'm not perfect.  No one is!  Here are some changes I will make for next time I completely have the day off.
  1. Get up earlier.  (I tried to do that today but I just really needed the sleep from the busy week, I guess)
  2. Come up with a plan ahead of time (I meant to do that last night but I was so exhausted and I had a long phone call with my best friend and I think I fell asleep right after).
  3. Be more realistic about the amount of time that it takes to get things done.  

to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

The Beach, Drinking, & Creating

I was in Delaware last weekend and we went to see the 49th Annual Kite Festival at Cape Henlopen State Park.  It was a lot of fun, although we didn't actually watch the kites for all that long.  We made our way to the fishing pier and also to the swimming beach.

The water was extremely cold so we just barely dipped our toes in, but it still felt amazing to be on the beach.  I can't wait for it to be summer and I can drive down on the weekend to relax on the shore and work on my suntan.

Pat and I took an uber into Rehoboth on Friday night and did a little bar hopping.  It was pretty chilly so we told ourselves that the we would just go into The Pond for a drink while we waited for our uber. As it turns out, there was a pretty cool band playing and they were playing Semi-Charmed Kind of Life by Third Eye Blind when we walked in so we decided to sit down and stay for quite a few more drinks.

Yes, yes.  My juicer came and I'm having a lot of fun making different juices.  This picture is from the first juice I made.  I haven't been to the grocery store in a while so it's made from carrots and apples.

I almost forgot to mention that we went on a Dogfish Head Brewery Tour.  It was a pretty cool time, PLUS we got to do a tasting as well.  One of my favorites is the Sick Cider.  I also really liked Beer To Drink Music To.

Back at home I've been working on putting etsy packages together and taking new marketing photos for my shop.  Here are a few examples!

And to end this post, here's a glass of white zinfandel.  Haha.

Have a great Friday and Cheers to the weekend!  Do any of you have some fun plans this weekend? I'll be working on Saturday but on Sunday I'll be attempting to have a super productive day off. Check back later on Sunday for updates on that.

Take care,

to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

What's New in Shop? April 2017

Good morning, creative friends!  It's a sunny morning in Eastern Pennsylvania.  I'm loving these spring temperatures that we've been waiting so long for.

As the coffee brews and my shower warms up, i just wanted to share some quick info on new items and listings in my etsy shop.

New paper packs

I've released some paper packs because my ephemera packs sold so well.  For just $5 you get an assorted back of papers in various sizes.  These packs are perfect for those interested in mail art, art journaling, card making, collage, and other paper crafts.  Find out more details here!

Individual zines are available for purchase again

i realized that while packaging my zines together is helpful for some readers, it's not helpful for all.  My readers are diverse and have all different interests so hopefully this makes finding the zine you want to read a lot easier.
I'm working on an etsy project for May.  You might even call it an experiment.  More details on that coming soon.

That's all for now.  If you're reading this post, make sure to tell me how the weather is where you live!

Take care,

to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)

Cover Reveal for Alicia (& A Release Date)

Good evening, fiction friends!  This is a scheduled blog post because I'm at the beach for the weekend, but I wanted to share some pretty pertinent information about my newest novel, Alicia.

Cover Reveal

Let's address the most important piece of info, which is that I have a cover for Alicia now.

It turned out pretty cute, huh?  I used the designer I always use and I'm so pleased with the result.  It's simple and cute and it ever so slightly hints at the plot of the novel.  If you're wondering if the plot of this book has to do with kissing, then you would be correct.  Haha.

Release Date

Alicia will be released on May 1, 2017 on Amazon kindle.  If you'd be interested in reading/reviewing Alicia and then posting your reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, hit me up!  Visit my contact page for my email address and we can further discuss the details. :)

ALSO... I just wanted to remind you that you can read the first 6 chapters of Alicia for free on Wattpad.  So feel free to check it out if you like young adult fiction.

Other Platform Releases?

I was listening to the Creative Penn Podcast on one of my evening walks last week and the episode was an interview with author Liliana Hart.  In it, she discussed why she offers her books on multiple platfors like amazon and kobo and iBooks.  I was definitely inspired and once Alicia releases, I'd like to work on learning how to format and upload on those other platforms as well.  Who knows?  Maybe my target audience is mainly reading on a different kind of device than kindle/kindle app.

That's all for tonight!

Take care,
to keep up to date with all my latest ramblings! :)