Learning to Embrace my When-Ready concept

As I am writing this, the first batch of submissions for the upcoming Empowerment-issue have been filling up my inbox. The past two to three months have been about creating awareness regarding this upcoming issue – which will be published in September of this year – collecting initial story-ideas and exploring a direction for this issue.

The entire process is an organic one and I never know how it will unfold. Not knowing how many story-ideas, if any, will be submitted is one thing. It’s harder when submissions eventually don’t follow through. Unfortunately, this has happened with every single issue so far and I am sure it will happen again. It is a scary situation as I am left with a gap in the magazine. Yet, it’s part of what makes the process exciting and surprising, because there is always a solution.

A sense of rejection lurks around the corner though. But every creative that shares their work will recognize that feeling. There is a piece of me in what I put out there. When people don’t share my enthusiasm, critique it or don’t want to be part of it – even when the reasons make sense – it’s hard to not take it personally. The ego is a tricky companion. It’s not something I have gotten used to. But I am learning how to give the negative emotion space to breathe and turn it into action. Always moving forward. Even if it means moving with baby-steps.

Evolution

The learning curve that comes with creating Let’s Explore Magazine is steep and unexpected. Making an issue is as much a new experience and exploration for me as it is for the contributors. We are in it together and with the Empowerment-issue, I am aiming to make this one the most collaborative issue yet. Also, a few new ideas are forming and time will tell how those will manifest themself. There are plenty of challenges ahead but this could result in some interesting additions in and to the magazine.

Enriching my bubble

Besides this ambition of focussing even more on the collaborative aspect, something else is happening and it is having an impact on the process. Does this really come as a surprise by now? Last year, I went back to school, took two courses to broaden my horizon and to learn more about the things I was doing instinctively and was interested in intrinsically. It also resulted in expanding my bubble significantly which is what prompted me to write this journal entry. Since my studies, I am more than ever focussing on the power of story, narrative-change and my belief that curiosity and inspiration can evoke change on an internal basis as well as on a broader, perhaps even global scale. Adding these new bubbles of inspiring people, projects and ideas has lead me to dive head-first into a rabbit hole that will undoubtedly shape my future. To be honest, I think it is already having a significant impact as a new group of people is showing an interest in the magazine, what it stands for and how it comes together.

Embracing my when-ready concept

Let’s Explore stands for diversity, curiosity, inspiration & willingness to try something new. And I am finding myself at a point in the process where it is still possible to slightly adjust the course of the upcoming issue. Even if this means that dates will change a little bit. There is a reason why I came up with the when-ready concept for this publication. I believe the freedom it provides serves the quality of the stories and is showing itself now. The new bubble will be able to elevate the publication by sharing angles that I had never thought of and that I haven’t seen in the submissions that were sent in up until now. 

What does this mean?

I have decided to embrace this development and will be taking some extra time to collect submissions. This may or may not have consequences for the final publication date. But that’s ok, because in the end, it’s about the quality of the publication. Taking this extra time has a few advantages:
• Firstly, we can already start crafting the first drafts of the still to be selected stories from the current submissions. It will provide some extra time to “perfect” them. Especially since these will still serve as the foundation of the Empowerment-issue and form a logical next step from what I have published in previous issues. 
Secondly, you still have time to submit your story. This time around though, I’m asking for a little bit more than just a 300-word idea/pitch, in order to stay up to speed. You have until March 31st to submit a rough (!) 1st draft of your story. This draft can evolve over time, but at this stage, it would be extremely helpful to have a better understanding of where the story might be going. If you want to discuss your idea before submitting your draft, let me know, because we can always schedule a call.


What’s next?

• First of all, if you haven’t submitted your story yet, go for it. Check out the theme-page or get in touch if you would like to discuss it first. Your story matters and please do not think that your story is not good enough or not interesting enough…you might be surprised as to where it may go.
• In the meantime, I will be diving deeper into the rabbit hole of story, narrative-change and the power of curiosity to find out in what way this could possibly elevate the magazine in its entirety and this issue in particular. If you happen to know people I should be talking to, please let me know.
• And last but not least, if you know people or projects that should be in the spotlight in regards to the theme of Empowerment, let them know that there is a way to amplify their voice. I’m more than happy to discuss options and possibilities to collaborate.

Stay curious & keep exploring!

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