editing my subscription

Imagine getting a free sample of a magazine. Somehow it was just plopped on your doorstep from some unknown person but it somewhat piques your interest. Curious to know more, you subscribe to it and realize that it seems to have all the promise in the world. A lot of promise, a lot of cool fancy wordage that could convince any other open-minded individual to pay the monthly subscription fee just to learn more, at least for a little while.

At some point, after several months of receiving the magazine in your mailbox, you understand the magazine–you’ve come to know what it will talk about and know how each different writer’s voice sounds. You’ve even thought that the magazine’s articles are filled with information that you think can make your life better, even if you don’t agree with a couple opinions of the people writing the articles and a couple stances of the magazine itself.

Now imagine that one of the editors of said magazine calls you once a week to make sure you’re reading the content, understanding and accepting it. And every so often, that editor asks you, “Are you willing to take what our magazine is saying, implement it in your life, write articles every once in a while and be an advocate for it forever?”

At first, you question it unabashedly while still going along for the ride. After all, you’re curious to see what happens. Next, you actually think “Hey, this could actually work. This is fun! I’m being enlightened!” And following that, you’re on the brink of  actually taking the plunge and sign up for the lifelong subscription, even about to write articles and tell everyone you have found the one thing that completes your life. Thus, you surround yourself with everything that is about that magazine: the people, the writing and printing process, and even attending the swell parties the magazine and its employees throw with their subscribers frequently.

Then a few things become glaringly obvious…

The magazine publishing industry is brutal–especially with this particular magazine. Editors are picky and sometimes even fix your “pride and joy” article that doesn’t even resemble its old luminous self. Then the other writers rejoice when your articles match their own “unique” voice. Opinions are battered back and forth, some align and others are completely perpendicular. Each magazine competes for your attention and when you turn your attention solely to one–it’s almost isolating. You hate that isolation; you want to learn a lot more but now you feel limited. There is a sense of home with the magazine, but at the same time, you’re like a 19 year-old craving to leave the nest.

But then you realize that it is just a magazine. What the magazine talks about are things that you can learn and figure out on your own without the bias of those few writers whose opinions don’t match yours. Sure, what the magazine has taught you thus far has changed your life for the better… but there are still those discrepancies. Discrepancies that aren’t good enough to make the commitment of a lifelong subscription and damage your freelance writing ideals. At least not at the moment.

So you do something that they may not like… you reduce your subscription from monthly to every other month. You still want to read and stay connected to the magazine because it still has some great articles. But you also want to read and perhaps subscribe to other magazines with similar messages, to hear more perspectives. That’s what a rounded education is about.

After all… you’re still you. Being a lifetime subscriber of the magazine isn’t a choice you’re so willing to make so lightly and so soon. Heck, there is even a lot more beyond the magazine industry that can provide enlightenment as well. There is still the world of novels, poetry anthologies, newspapers and tons more that you can be reading!

Your exploration and discoveries have only just begun.