From Concept to Creation: Creating A Space for Artists With Honne Magazine
Written by Lola Desmole
My interest in writing started when I was in high school; as I wrote papers for my classes, I also started writing little stories, “How-To”s, and personal essays. The more I wrote, the more I liked it but I never had a place where I could show off my work. Years later I started a blog, which easily fixed that frustration. However, I couldn’t help but think there was a gap in the industry—it seemed there was no outlet for young writers and journalists who wanted to publish their work but didn’t have a platform of their own.
Once I started actively writing on my blog, it was great to have a place to publish my work, but it didn’t fully satisfy me. What I really wanted was to create that place I wish had been there for me— a platform where anyone could publish their work, get their name out there and their voice heard without strings attached or a freelance contract.
Having lived in Paris for the past two years and New York before that, I’ve had a lot of different experiences. In May of this year, I came back to my hometown— San Francisco—thanks to a short-term work opportunity and, with a bit of time on my hands, I felt the moment was right to actively start working on my own magazine. After hours of building the site to make it what I wanted it to be, finding a name I felt was right for the brand and myself, making sure everything was perfect, I launched Honne— an online platform that I hoped would be a place to share and discover different stories and ideas.
I wanted to find a name that sounded good and had a meaning behind it. In Japanese, “honne” signifies what a person truly believes—their “real voice”, as opposed to the public voice and persona people put on in the world; the behavior and ideas that are often kept hidden and only shown with one’s closest confidants. For me, it was the perfect name since I wanted the website to be a place for everyone to share their truest self through their work.
Honne is a platform for anyone who wants to publish their creative work. Writers are encouraged to submit their pieces and Honne will publish them. We also have our own articles written by the Honne team. The idea behind Honne was to create a place where writers could create a community amongst themselves to support one another. However, Honne grew into much more when I realized more people could get involved. Collaboration is key in creative industries, which is why I wanted to expand the site to more than just writers.
People seemed to be receptive right off the bat, which I have been eternally grateful for. It’s amazing how engaging and open people can be when you approach them with the same energy. People want to help and be a part of something. It only took a couple of days for writers to start emailing me and messaging me, asking me to publish their work or for illustrators and photographers to offer their services to writers in need of visual content. I still have a lot of growing to do and Honne Magazine is still a crawling toddler, but what I’ve noticed is that growing a website or any type of online platform is not as hard as it seems when you connect with the right people— whether that means friends, family, network connections or your social media followers.
I used to think I needed to have the next year planned out before starting my website but, that’s not true. Although you need to plan some things ahead of time, the rest will figure itself out once you get started. I launched Honne with only one article, none prepared and no prior confirmation that anyone was even going to be willing to contribute their work. You can only hope for the best when starting an endeavor but as long as the hard work follows, there is no reason for it to not to work out.
Lola Desmole is a journalist based in Paris and specialized in writing about all things fashion, art and culture. She writes both for French and American publications while also working on building Honne. You can learn more about Honne and the work she is doing on their website and Instagram or contact her through LinkedIn.