Today we have a guest post from Louise Lloyd, Publishing Director at Kvoice Magazine. Louise is looking for submissions for her local magazine which was launched during lockdown and is growing fast.
Nine-tenths of learning to write is encouragement. Okay, I admit to tweaking the original 'Nine-tenths of education is encouragement'. But I hope you'll stay with me as I make an observation indicating truth in the opening sentence.
In my background, I am reasonably well practised in the art of experimentation, as born out by my sun-faded but still discernibly rippled-green A-Level certificates in Physics and Chemistry. When I sat those papers, ages ago, my secondary school required our cohort of sixth-form scientists to take a further examination entitled 'Use of English'. The fear was that the nation might otherwise produce illiterate boffins: teenagers perfectly honed to differentiate a lazy atom of argon from a magnificent molecule of potassium permanganate, but at sea when faced with an oxymoron or a gerund. The latter unfathomable if not capable of being dissolved in a test-tube. That third examination had a purpose. It was there to head off those of us wearing goggles and white coats being unable to explain to the public the purpose of the mysterious experiments we would undertake in later life from behind the protected doors of our secret laboratories.
Years later, at the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, it came into my mind that those teetering with the idea of creative writing, including those of us attempting yet another restart, would soon face abundant opportunity to get underway while simultaneously isolating at home. Instinctively, I turned to my old friend experimentation. I tested out an idea aimed at encouraging myself and all other teeterers to have a go. Here's what I did, and what I discovered.
From my writing laboratory at home, I distilled an email using an electronic device. I despatched my message individually to several of my fellow villagers in Oxfordshire who had similar equipment. I invited my neighbours to return a piece of creative writing on any subject of their choice. I would then gather and distribute the compilation privately back to all who took up the challenge. In other words, I said to my friends: write one and get twenty back, and let's see what happens.
Well. Quite a lot happened. Experienced writers wrote about Venus and the orbits of the planets, about poetry and crisis, about the history of pandemics. New writers wrote about honey bees, about their grandfather's war, about a recent sighting of a stork in flight over the village, at least they thought it might have been a stork. Then something quite interesting occurred. Some new writers contacted their companions to report they had recently taken up creative writing. L'encouragement began to spread. Well-considered words and curiosity began to travel on the fibres of our local neighbourhood. The seed to test encouragement for writing appeared to be producing some observable outcomes. People were starting to write articles and, interestingly, to say they had done so.
So, what happened next?
Well, we published the set big time, online and in hardcopy print. But not just any-old print. We pushed out the boat to celebrate and produced a posh, self-published, typeset, print-on-demand, high-quality A4 glossy paperback magazine of 54 pages in full colour and sold each copy for £10.00 to loads of other villagers. We were soon on our second impression following a fabulous first. More than this, the test had encouraged many more local villagers to have a go too.
I mean, imagine your first ever article included in such a prestigious anthology with your opening paragraph styled with an enlarged dropped capital, a serif no less.
As I write, I am presently preparing the groundwork for our printed edition due later in 2021 but with most of its content published online beforehand. Now. Here's where you come in dear reader. For our 2021 printed edition, we are opening our village door to the world. Anyone who is a member of our planet may submit an article on a subject of their choice. As Spike Milligan once reminded us, everyone must be somewhere; and after all, today's is an evermore local and optimistically neighbourly world n'est pas?
How to contribute
In conclusion now, dear writer, please send your draft article to me, Louise Lloyd, Publishing Director, KVoice Magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org. And should your piece encourage others to do the same, perhaps for their very first time, then that's ticketyboo too. Thank you. Let's see what happens.
Louise Lloyd, Publishing Director at Kvoice Magazine