How to Let Go of A Dream (and why I’m not starting a magazine)
I’ve decided to not start my print magazine. DANIELLE Magazine. It was one of my favourite ideas, ever, ever.
I was so excited about it. The team was on fire. Readers and industry folk were stoked and curious.
We had a designer on board, hired a managing editor. Called for writers. Commissioned art work. Did many photo shoots of people, products, places. I jammed with consultants and mentors, conferred with other magazine publishers. We ran the numbers, and even with minimal subscriptions, it would have been a lucrative venture.
We set a launch date. Spent about $100k in a year of planning. We mapped out a "non-advertising advertising model" that would raise big bucks for charity and profile companies I believe in. We shipped product samples and phat, phabulous articles from coast to coast.
I even chose the paper. The content for the first issue was in the can. The second issue was already taking shape.
But... not gonna. And... it was an incredibly easy decision to make, actually. This is not a sad story, not at all. Of course, I'm about to tell you why.
In a word: DEVOTION to the here and now.
Photo credit: Taylor Allen
Do I want to make a gorgeous print magazine that would lift hearts, feed minds, and rumble the publishing industry? Fuck, yes. I believe in print. I eat magazines, daily. I have a lot to share. Prolificness is an ego-thrill.
Do I have other things going on that are beautifully compelling that I’m devoted to? Yes! Devotion to my currently awesome reality wins.
It came down to focus. And lifestyle. And grace. It was an easy decision to make because I’m really really clear that I want to make art with a small core team of strong healthy women, and ace collaborators. We made a choice for wellness and quality — quality of life, and quality of creativity.
There's no dramatic backstory or stress I'm not telling you about. The project itself was quite blessed. But I looked at my life, at the year+ ahead, and I had a feeling. And then, as usual, Angie, who's been helping me run the show for 3+ years had a, and I quote "a whisper about the magazine..." And you know...
1. Don’t denigrate your dream in order to justify letting it go.
Someone said to me, “Look at all the magazines that are failing. It’s a good idea to let this go.” Hold up. I’m not letting this go because of market place trends. My decision has zero to do with industry factors. I’m convinced — as convinced as one can be in the realm of possibility — that we would have made something both meaningful and profitable, and we would have positively disrupted our corner of the publishing scene. So, I’m not backing down on the power of the idea to make it easier to let it go -- that would be a 'dis to my creativity.
2. Juice the dream.
I’m squeezing the brilliance out of every idea, concept, and page we created and looking for how it can be repurposed to elevate in what I’m up to now. We had 9000+ great ideas, and now they will live on my site, my new programs, my next book, my new sound project (eeep!). Repurpose your brilliance.
3. Dramatic decisions don't have to be high drama.
You might need a mopey walk around the park, or a good cry in the tub when you decide to call it quits. I’ve been there on past projects. But for this, I was just really quiet for an afternoon and kept the decision to myself for a few days. And then, I spoke it out loud and I did some kitchen disco to celebrate. Stillness and … dance! One of the strongest characteristics of Team D as a whole is that we're really drama free. The future is always more exciting than the past. Next.
4. Never mind your ego.
When someone on an airplane asks you what you do and you say "writer" they don't know what to make of you. When you say you're "starting your own magazine," well, they pay attention. That was fun for a minute. I’m always very public about what I’m working on. I told EVERYONE that we were creating a print magazine. Because we were. Now we're not. This is what creative freedom looks like. It’s messy, it’s daring, it’s real.
5. Losing money is part of making money.
Fact. It comes, it goes. It’s never a good idea to see something through solely because you sunk money into it. I always think of "lost" money as funding for even better ideas.
6. Remember why you make art.
There's always more where that came from, you will get the chance to express and serve again...and again.
7. Thank people before you move on.
Thank you! Thanks to every writer for submitting work — the good, the so-so, the totally brilliant. Thank you to the thousands of people who expressed their excitement on Facebook and Twitter. That was so encouraging. And encouragement + creativity = rocket fuel.
The magazine content and art will reincarnate. I’m not starting an separate "e-magazine," but stick around my digital temple, aka, right here, and watch it unfurl. There will be more light, a side of lifestyle, and some sexy art collaborations (Think: Neon #Truthbomb. Yep.) And ... I'll keep offering the truest truths I can find within myself. Everyday. Always.