How to beat blankpage-itus

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Strategies and emergency approaches for when your brain won’t co-operate and when the blank page mocks you:

  • write about how you can’t write and how much you suck
  • resituate yourself elsewhere and start afresh: a library, a park, a coffeeshop, a long unnecessary train journey
  • try something new: if you always write at a computer, try using pen and paper. Use new materials, reinvent yourself in a new genre or with a new medium
  • abandon rationaility: write and draw fragments, snippets, half-ideas, anything
  • Steal an idea as your startpoint
  • Remember what inspired you in the first place: that record, book, zine, drawing. Go back to it and ask it for help
  • Say FUCK IT and do something else

Take courage, friend. Good luck.

(This was originally printed in the Alternative Press Fair zine in a day.)

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Blogs Vs. Zines Smackdown: Revenge of Print 2011

As a zine maker, I spend hours and hours cutting out little bits of words on paper, sticking them down onto other bits of paper, preparing packages of goodies to send out with Etsy orders or hand binding issues of the zine (be it by silk thread or by staples).

‘Why don’t you do a blog instead?’ people say, ‘it would be so much quicker and more people would read it’*.

Well now. Well now, indeed. That there’s fighting talk.

Blogs are all about quick and easy publishing for quick and easy access. As such, their worth is cheapened despite their practical value. Yes, they are quick and simple, and yes, they do reach a lot more people. For example I had something reprinted in Perfect Sound Forever which got over 6000 clicks in a week: it was terrifying. That’s probably about four times more people have ever read my zine.

Blogs are the extroverted show-offs of the self-publishing world: whoring themselves about for a maximum of clicks and views; all tarted up with YouTube clips and pretty pictures and sounds. But you can bet your sweet ass a lot of those precious clicks are random internet bots and scanners. Or just people who have noticed that you’ve used the words “naked musician” and want to check the site on the off-chance you have included a pic of a nekked French hornist or something (I haven’t).

Yes, it did take me a while to sew these

Zines, on the other hand, are introverted personal quests for expression. Like open letters to people you don’t know, they are much more special and delicate things. People respond to zines in ways that they never would with a blog. When people get a zine in their hands they get understand the appeal right away.

So, all you print-is-dead naysayers, print is taking its bloody revenge. In fact, the more people assume that print is dead, the more people fetishize the print and appreciate the handmade, super-personal goodness that are these things called zines. So, go ahead, say that print is dead all you like. It will only serve to strengthen the zine makers’ resolve.

Revenge of Print 2011 is an initiative for zine makers (saying ‘zinesters’ never feels quite right for me: can we claim ‘zine maker’ as a British equivalent, please?) old and new, to get their words and art in print in the year of 2011. Actual print. Yes, the initiative is being publicised on blogs and websites, ironically enough, but this just proves that the two worlds of print and online can be friends and work together for a common good.

For more information on the Revenge of Print 2011, visit The Revenge of Print Facebook group – sign up! Make something – what are you waiting for? Do it now! You have six months to comply.

For more proof as to the resurgence and fetishization of print, check out the comings and goings of the zine community on the Zine Wiki or look at the 3,182 (and counting) zines for sale on Etsy.com. Or any of Etsy.

Issue 4 of Angry Violist was produced for Revenge of the Print 2011.

*Obviously, I do a blog as well as a zine, but the blog only contains stuff that wouldn’t easily fit into the zine thematically or because sound files are required. So nerrrr.