I’m writing a utopian novel via Substack

And a nonfiction book imagining a more beautiful future.

Elle Griffin

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Becoming a journalist

In 2014, I launched Over The Moon Magazine on the side of my content marketing job.

I started the magazine because I was a marketing writer and I wanted to be a magazine writer and editor, and bridging that gap felt impossible. At the time, I was living in San Francisco, it was in the middle of the great recession, and there were no writing and editing jobs available — even if there were, I didn’t have the experience to compete for them.

Originally, I thought I might need to go to journalism school but then, to check myself, I went through the Sunday edition of The New York Times and Googled every single writer with a byline in it — less than half of them had a journalism degree. I didn’t need a degree, I realized, I just needed an opportunity. An in.

Around that time, I read an article in which the actress Nia Vardalos described the years she spent trying to get an acting part unsuccessfully. Unable to land a role, she decided to create one herself. She wrote and starred in a one-woman play based loosely on her Greek Orthodox family and she marketed it to Greek Orthodox churches in LA.

The play was a hit — it ran for six weeks and attracted big name Greek Orthodox folks like Rita Wilson, who later took her husband Tom Hanks to see it. After its run, Hanks’ production company asked if they could produce it as a film. My Big Fat Greek Wedding became one of the highest grossing indie films of all time and was nominated for an academy award.

Inspired by her story, I decided to pull a My Big Fat Greek Wedding and make things happen for myself as a writer. So I launched an online magazine and invited 100 writers I loved to write for it (and bring their audiences to it) hoping that would give me somewhere to write and build my portfolio — to achieve my dream of becoming a magazine writer and editor.

It worked, Over The Moon drew an audience of 6,000 newsletter subscribers and 25,000 Instagram followers and, though it was never profitable, it gave me enough editorial clout to get in the door at publications like The Muse, which got me in the door at Forbes

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Elle Griffin

Writing a utopian novel and essays imagining a more beautiful future. ellegriffin.substack.com.