Thursday, April 5, 2018

Work and Play

Writing this, we are going into deadline week and there are, as always, many pieces to get in place. In our most recent newsletter – Writing, Magic and Marketing – we presented that each issue contains approximately 200 pieces, all smaller ones counted, and we estimated that we send about 150-200 emails in communicating about each issue. Re-reading what I wrote, I sound somewhat pleading in my asking for people to read the guidelines and work a piece over before they submit. I wasn’t. But, there was a good reason I shared this.

This is the 24th issue published by Michael and me. When we took over, things happened pretty quickly, and I have vivid memories of waking up three or four in the morning to try to figure out everything from the layout program to how to tell an article writer that a 3000-word article about fungus may not be a perfect fit for The Echo World. In comparison The Echo World is slowly but surely starting to seem like an easy ride hobby project. Nevertheless, I’m now working hard to re-invite a world outside of The Echo World. Simply because I think this will not only be good for me, but also for the quality of the magazine.

This past weekend Michael and I went out for a weekend hike and sleepover by the Appalachian trail. We hiked up beautiful Crab Tree Falls and sat on sunny rocks by Harpers Creek eating a picnic. We love being outdoors, so this was not, however wonderful, all that special. What was special, was that we had given each other a promise not to talk about anything that had to do with The Echo World, or anything business related. We succeeded – with a few slips – and both felt how great it was to indulge in chit-chat or life-philosophy that was not related to any doing or producing.

Over the last two years The Echo World has increased in quality. The submissions have become more and more professional. Michael and I have created a better workflow and have had the time to create systems that simplify the whole process. With this, I invite more non-doing, or doing-for-no-particular reason, into my life.

The other day I re-installed Spotify and remembered that I, once upon a time in another life, used to make playlists. So, I began one named Appalachia, and another named New Mexico, and started filling them up with gorgeous songs. No one will ever listen to these lists but me and Michael, which is why listening to them is the best kind of energy fillers for my entire creative system. I also found the last book of a fantasy series that I fully enjoyed over many years. I will not review it, because it doesn’t fit in our review section. But, I’m very excited to see how the hero and heroine will manage to get out of fixes involving monsters and trolls this time around. Sometimes I sketch. You will never see these sketches and for that you should be very thankful. They’re very weak. But I’m having fun doing them, emptying my brain of any prestige or deadlines.

I think we need to let ourselves do things without the need for a certain result. I certainly do. By doing this, I have more energy and creativity to put into The Echo World, and putting it together is much more fun. After two years I still think that each issue is a little pearl more pretty than the last. I am convinced that will keep happening as the years go by.

I’m proud of our 24th issue. I’m proud of our talented, smart and fun writers, of the playful artform called layout, of the interesting people we get to present, of all the labor of love we poured in. But, I’m also proud of the fact that this issue was put together alongside with talks between Michael and me that had nothing to do with The Echo World, Spotify playlists, and silly sketches. Now, go do your own labor of love. But don’t forget to play some as well. That way, all you do and produce will become all the better.

First published as the co-editorial for the April 2018 issue of The Echo World.


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