Spackle Media today launched Skrib Magazine, a writing website geared towards freelance writers, publishing professionals, and lovers of all things scribed. It focuses on the art and profession of writing, balancing on its many splayed hands the silver platters of industry news one-offs, protracted confessions on the writing life, interviews with established authors, and just what it means to craft a passage that taps the heart of author and reader.
“Skrib Magazine gets its name from the Esperanto word ‘skribi’, which means to write,” explained founder and chief editor Brittany Hillen in the inaugural post. “Such a title seemed appropriate given Skrib’s core goal: providing content covering all varieties of writing-related topics and issues for both the absolute beginner and the long-term veteran, as well as all those between.”
Skrib is dead-serious about its mission — and a joy to read. It quantum-leaps past the breezy “tips and tricks” posture of your standard-issue writing blog, and plunks itself down firmly in the middle of the battlefield. It acknowledges the need for a writer to make a living — without resorting to mannequinesque formulas for “success”. It doesn’t blow sunshine up your skirt, soldier. In torpedoing the romantic archetype of the penniless auteur, Hillen wrote:
“Somewhere in the middle of all this life-borne nonsense is the need to acquire money and the idealism of striving for perfection, and, upon failing to marry those two together, one becomes what all artists dread: the dreamer who tells the customers he or she is checking out at the cash register about plans to one day pen the next big thing — year after endless year.”
But Hillen and her stable of experienced contributors — myself included, full disclosure — stop short of selling cynicism. Skrib optimistically tends to real concerns. On its first day live, the site is already jam-packed with insights about the power of language to transform the world (and the human organism); the nuts and bolts of setting up an office and choosing a writing laptop; a guide for published authors on how to speak in front of a crowd; a bit about when to go with a small publisher versus a major house (hint: not when you’re desperate) — and, yes, How to Avoid Being a Starving Writer.
Regarding the art and craft of writing, Skrib serves up plenty of hearty fare. After all, if writers were only after money, they wouldn’t be writers. For starters, wade into the mind of “dark contemporary fiction” author Allison M. Dickson in Skrib’s first author interview piece.
In the future, Spackle will produce “Skrib Guides” to nonfiction, fiction, copywriting, screenwriting, freelance writing, and other categories, all of which will be available for download on the site. Think a “For Dummies” series except not for dummies. The site will also eventually integrate a job hub.
A word about design: Skrib Magazine is gorgeous. Words and images don’t exist separately in this universe, so it’s affirming for me to see a writing publication that makes visual appeal a priority.
Skrib is poised to be huge. I’m excited to have played a bit part in its launch as a minor contributor. Hillen, whom I’ve known as a friend and colleague since early 2011, worked her face off putting together the magazine, and it really shows in every aspect. And she did it concurrently with her position as a full-time journalist for a prominent tech news website on top of putting the finishing touches on a (600-page, if I recall) fantasy novel and rubbing elbows with the likes of Jerry Stahl in an upcoming humorous fiction anthology. Hillen does it all, and she does it well. I know of no one better suited to lead what could very well become the definitive writing-related website on the Internet.
So what are you waiting for?! Get over there and dive in anywhere. Please share it along with your thoughts about it with your 600 best friends. Skrib Magazine is one independent publication worth watching from the start.