The Way Forward
TIME TO SHAKE THINGS UP.
We have a new vision and a new format for Skinny Dipper, and we want to share it with you.
To walk you through our new vision for Skinny Dipper, let's start with a question.
Yes, the kids magazine. You may remember seeing it in doctors’ offices or kindergarten classrooms.
Highlights catered to children and then fell off at age 13 or earlier. Nothing really took its place as young adult readers embarked upon the rest of their lives, nothing besides romantic partners, self-help books, alcohol, and therapy, that is.
Yet with the level of distraction, loneliness, and digital addiction that modern humans are grappling with today, couldn’t there be — shouldn’t there be — a Highlights magazine for adults?
It’s clear that some of us never quite grew out of kindergarten — let them fight in the sandbox, anyway — while the rest of us could surely use a refresher. This got us thinking — what if?
So for the past two months, we’ve been exploring what it would mean to develop a magazine that acts as a companion for adults who are interested in cultivating a meaningful practice of living. This magazine would not only inspire and enlighten its readers via raw, authentic storytelling — our traditional modus operandi — but also empower readers via tools for reflection, mindfulness, and purpose-driven behaviors.
We see this as a new potential direction for Skinny Dipper. Imagine a workbook-style magazine designed for cultivating essential joy and wisdom in the modern world, arriving at your door every two months or so. Shorter than our usual 114-page tome — probably between 16 to 36 pages — and printed on a thinner paper that you can write on.
Would you be interested to see Skinny Dipper take this form? Would you be interested in subscribing to Skinny Dipper so that you can have ongoing access to these stories and tools throughout the year?
As we go about brainstorming what it could look like and contain, we want to get your input. Here are some components we’re envisioning:
Reflection questions and write-in space
Activities to help you connect with others
Writing, art, and craft prompts
Coloring book or tracing paper inserts
Reader-submitted letters and columns
QR codes linked to audiovisual extras
Tickets and invitations to live experiences with other readers
Marketplaces to support other artists and entrepreneurs
In the spreads below, you can see some initial blueprints of how these components would take shape.
As you look around, imagine getting something like this in the mail. What would you want to see? What would you want the magazine to include? How might a more frequent Skinny Dipper magazine help you to cultivate joy and wisdom in your life?
In this blueprint above, you can see the main feature is a story or an interview, per our usual content, but this time it's also paired with a QR code that you scan with your phone to get audio for the story. Then, at the end of the story is a reflection prompt that gets you thinking more deeply or more broadly about the story, and provides space to write down your thoughts.
This is a mock-up of a mindfulness exercise. Meditation using sound is an interesting way to discover a sense of presence wherever you are, and this exercise would walk you through some preliminary steps and tips to get started. It would also include a QR code for guided audio, and another reflection prompt at the end.
In this blueprint you get a sense of some additional workbook-style elements: writing, art, or community engagement prompts to spur your creativity.
Finally, this page details initial ideas for recurring columns that would feature reader-submitted content.
Some of those column ideas include:
— Fuck Ups: stories of failure
— The Backyarder: lessons on citizen science and naturalism
— Postcards: highlights and tips from recent trips
— Heron Group: dispatches from environmentalism and climate movement
— Beyond Obituaries: reflections from those left behind
Remember, the idea is that the workbook elements outlined above would be woven into the traditional storytelling fabric of Skinny Dipper. Offered as a subscription — between 6 and 9 issues per year — we hope each magazine becomes a tangible, living record that's both a tool to be used and a treasure to be cherished.
What do you think? Does this resonate with you? Comment below or email us directly.
We’re moving fast to put these ideas into action and offer a subscription before the Holidays come around. If you want to learn more and get a sneak-peek, click the button below to receive a free care package in the mail!