“If those girls at Cosmo can do it then so can I!”
This was my defiant line of thought at the beginning of this year, after my one month work experience opportunity at Cosmopolitan Magazine Online got cut short due to the unforeseen limitations of my Jobseekers Allowance agreement. I had been assisting a small team of three staff girls and a freelancer in the running of the magazine’s online website, and I realised that a career in publishing wasn’t necessarily the daunting skill-packed mystery I had previously given it credit for. In fact, why couldn’t I do it myself?
So I set about creating my own online magazine which I excitedly and haphazardly launched last Easter 2011. I called it… A-MUSE Mag and coined the tagline – Be Inspired, Be Entertained, BE! My vision for the project was clear – I wanted to provide the opportunity for aspiring writers like myself to experiment with their craft and be able to have their work published in an online magazine and creative community. I also wanted one place in which I could advertise and link to my own online writing, which at the time was all over the place, and consistently left me feeling confused.
The problem of course is that one’s own enthusiasm and vision doesn’t necessarily reflect through others, especially when you are not paying contributors to contribute. It is tricky to express to contributors that they’re not quite hitting the spot with their content, when you’re not paying them for their efforts. So I have turned a blind eye to my perfectionist streak and allowed contributors to pretty much submit what they like, and with a few tweaks here and there I have published it. Sometimes I try to steer the content into the direction I want it to go by requesting a re-write in an email packed with apologies and positive suggestions. This has brought attention to certain things, which is great; but unfortunately only momentarily. Generally speaking, the magazine is just not what I want it to be yet.
I often fantasise about being able to write for all of the sections in the magazine myself; but this is strictly fantasy, because I would have to be superhuman to pull it off. I have tried to contribute my own writing here and there, but there just isn’t the time. I feel like my creativity is being stretched and tugged in all directions half the time, and the result is silent panic at the prospect of being creatively ripped apart. I guess this is why successful magazines have a small team of editors who manage their own sections, and come together in weekly meetings to discuss trends and brainstorm new directions.
Maybe this is something I should think about doing. Instead of trying to do it all by myself, perhaps I need a tight team to bounce ideas off. But where on earth would I get a team of editors who would be happy to do all of this without payment? And to what extent would I be able to deal with them teaming against my original vision if it happened?
I have one or two more pressing writing-related projects to focus on at the moment; namely my novel which is due to be submitted to the Mslexia Competition in a couple of days, and my script treatment for the start of my final year of Uni. But I think once I have sorted these two things I will have to sit down (yet again) and re-think A-MUSE Magazine – before I do what I usually do, and give up in favour of starting something fresh and new!