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! :)

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