I get a lot of ideas in my head. I mean, a lot of ideas that I’d like to see come to fruition. They rattle around my head, and if I’m smart, I put them on paper so that I can remember them later. Role playing adventures, story ideas, blog posts, homebrew ideas and more. Being creative is a natural high for me. I also love seeing creativity in others. When I see what others have done, it encourages me to do more. Especially if I believe that I can improve upon an idea and share it with everyone.
Getting these ideas started is usually the first hurdle to overcome. Sometimes I’m over-thinking things. Do I have all of the pieces in place? Do I have the time to complete a project if I have other irons in the fire? Certain things can freeze me into place. So getting started is a big step.
Once I’m on the road, I need to stick with it until I’ve reached completion. Seeing half completed items on my plate only discourages me from completing or starting a project. Sometimes it feels like I’ve got them all hanging over my head. If I run into an issue, find away to resolve it. In the photo above, I am holding a 136 page fanzine that I’ve just completed for my Star Trek club, Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet. You don’t know how happy I am to have this done since this idea has been more than a year in the making.
This Seventh Fleet Annual is a fanzine that displays the “best of” art and articles from various Seventh Fleet chapter newsletters and blogs. There has been a lot of creativity within the fleet and I wanted to put it an outlet. Why do this with a fanzine instead of a fleet newsletter? I look at club newsletters as windows to the past. To borrow a line from Galaxy Quest, they are the historical documents. I’ve collected hard and soft copies of newsletters not only from Seventh Fleet chapters, but other fan clubs as well. This includes several newsletters from Star Trek fan clubs going all the way back to the 1970’s. Seeing things through the eyes of the fans that have come before me is very intriguing. What challenges they had to go through at the time. Not only to get a newsletter published, but to keep their fandom alive. I’ve seen how a chapter newsletter helps the chapter become stronger. Every time a new issue is released, it tells members and recruits that the chapter is thriving and growing. It makes the chapter stronger. So, creating a fleet newsletter could be a detriment to chapter newsletters, and in turn, the chapter itself. Members would be moved to submit items to the fleet newsletter instead of their own chapter publications. So I felt that having a competing newsletter would weaken the chapters, which in turn would weaken the parent organization. Instead, the fleet should be supporting the chapters. So the idea of a once-a-year annual highlighting some of the gems created by members would help the chapters, and in turn, the fleet.
Now I’ve edited newsletters for a variety of special interest groups that I’ve been involved with in the past. However at the most they have been up to 32 pages. A fanzine is much, much larger. When I discovered that I had the tools, but not the know how, I set out to learn some additional tools that the word processors provide. I am very grateful to the various instructors who have shared their knowledge in YouTube. Just watching someone do what I wanted to do on video, got the ball rolling for me. Since I had poured over decades of newsletters from various chapters, I already had a good idea on which submissions that I wanted to use. Once I had momentum, I didn’t want to let it stop. Within several days I had a rough draft that I could show to my wife who has always been a second pair of eyes for me.
I would also like to say that I love the cover. I commissioned it from my college kid studying art. She provided several preliminary sketches showing different interpretations of the cover idea. From this, I was able to narrow it down to the one that looked the best. Then she spent quite some time getting all of the details right. Seeing this process first hand gave me a better appreciation of how artists work when creating their artwork.
Once I had everything done, I sent over the document to a local printing company in my neighborhood. One I had used for several projects before. So when I gave them a heads up that this was coming through the pipeline, they were ready. Within a day I had the first prototype in my hands. Not only am I excited to see what my fellow members of my Star Trek family think of this fanzine, I’m also on an emotional high from completing a project. A burst of energy that I want to put into the next project. I’m typing up this blog post not only to re-affirm my thoughts now, but giving me an opportunity to re-read these thoughts again the future if I ever feel discouraged. Look what can be done. Look at what your efforts have produced.
Let’s see what can be created. Let’s see what can inspire others.