During the course of the Jeff Goins 15 Day Writing Challenge, I was delighted to “meet” Emily Wenstrom, creative and professional writer, and most recently, the founder and editor of a brand new ezine shaped specifically for fiction readers and writers.
On Day 4 of the challenge – “practice, in public” – Emily decided to step out and bring her passion to life for herself, and for all of us. When she announced the launch of her digital magazine, I asked what inspired her to step into such a huge project. I hoped Emily would share her vision for the ezine with our readers and writers.
Emily graciously agreed to reveal the path she took in creating her dream. Like all things good, she didn’t accomplish this venture overnight. She worked it, and worked on it, until she knew the moment was right. In her own words:
I’ve always loved story, in any form—books, movies, tv shows, comics, magazine features, anything.
So creative writing was a pretty natural fit. I dabbled in and out of it through high school and college. I pursued a career as a writer that let me try on many different hats–freelance journalism, managing editor of a magazine, proofing, public relations, copywriting, social media.
But eventually, I came back to fiction. And when I did, I was ready to take it seriously. I started writing every day and researched all over the web to find resources and community. I found some incredible blogs, solid sources for publishing news, and some fantastic writers’ networks.
One thing I could not find a literary publication that resonated for me. There’s wasn’t a lot of online content available. Some had painfully outdated designs that made them difficult to navigate. Even more did not have any way for me to subscribe online, and I knew that with issues released on a monthly, bimonthly or quarterly basis, I wasn’t going to remember to check back at the right time.
One morning I was listening to an NPR story about the publishing industry’s struggle transitioning to the digital age. It frustrated me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind that, in a digital world, it should be easier than ever to get people engaged with stories, not harder.
And that’s when it whomped me over the head: So make it happen. And there it was. I was going to create a literary zine specifically for the digital age.
I started with the elements to create strong online engagement—frequent updates, easy access to content, social media. Into it I poured all I’d learned from my time in marketing, social media, PR, and publishing—and all my passion for story.
It wasn’t easy. I’d never created a website before. It took a lot of long hours, how-to demos, coffee refills and more than a few hints from web designer friends. But over a year and a half, it slowly came to life.
And when I finally got there, I suddenly got shy. Talking up my friends about a dream was one thing. But to share my own creation with the world at large? Cringe.
For a couple months I put it off, giving myself little exercises in PR planning, weighing different ways to execute my outreach … when what I really needed to do was reach out.
But I’m biting the bullet. At every stage of the creation of my website, the same lesson has been reinforced to me—there’s nothing like the power of taking action. You can’t hoard the things you dream up. It only matters if it’s shared.
Emily Wenstrom is a professional writer working in marketing & public relations in Washington, DC, with a background in journalism. She blogs about creativity in work and art at Creative Juicer. She is also the founder and editor of wordhaus, a newly launched literary zine built for the digital age. Submit your short story in romance, mystery/thriller or sci-fi/fantasy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily “bit the bullet” to share her dream with all of us. What dreams are you hoarding? Leave a comment and tell us one action you can take today in order to share your dream with the world. And don’t forget to submit a story to wordhaus soon.