If you’ve been paying attention to independent publishing in Australia over the last 12 months, chances are you’ve probably heard of Beth Wilkinson. You might know her as Lindsay, which is not her name, but the one that belongs to her grandfather, and the publication she named after him.
Beth founded Lindsay officially 18 months ago as an online publication. Incredibly, since deciding to expand into print shortly after, she has published three spectacular issues in the last 12 months. A magazine about places, people and culture, Lindsay transports you in the way only a truly great publication can. Thumbing through its pages readers travel the world through thoughtful essays, insightful interviews, and moving imagery – inside the studio of Croatian painter Stipe Nobilio, to the ocean’s floor with Japan’s Ama divers, and at Jenny Kee’s sunny garden of pinky red Waratahs in the Blue Mountains.
It’s hard to list all of Beth’s achievements with Lindsay over the publication’s lifespan, simply because there are SO many. I’ll only mention a few. Beth took a huge leap of faith by quitting her job to invest in Lindsay full-time, and with her savings. The cover star of the first issue was Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, then after that New York-based Japanese (Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning) composer Ryuichi Sakamoto for Issue No. 2, and most recently Nadine Labaki, the Lebanese director of the widely-acclaimed film CAPERNAUM, graced the cover of Lindsay Issue No. 3. Beth photographed each of these globally-renowned talents herself, often on the fly and with little say over location and timing. As well as photographing for and editing Lindsay, Beth has designed each issue herself, under her creative studio Oak Park, earning a distinction for publication design in the 2018 AGDA Design Awards.
Beth is the true definition of a one-woman show, and it’s no accident that she and Lindsay have found so much success in such a short period of time. Driven, ambitious, and with her sights set to the future, we follow Beth on a day shortly after the launch of Lindsay Issue No 3. to see how she gets it done.
I wake up at 7am. The first thing I do is have coffee with my partner, and then for breakfast, I have homemade bircher muesli. I make a batch up for the week and then top it with fresh fruit each day and eat it at my desk anytime between 8 to 10am.
I also take my dog Thomas out for a walk every morning – after my coffee but before I start work.
My first few tasks of the day are usually processing online sales, answering urgent emails, and then I make a plan for the day. Every day looks different. Every month looks different. Sometimes I spend a solid couple of weeks barely leaving my desk, and other weeks I’m hardly there. So it’s hard to have much structure. I think having some routine can be helpful. Like for me, I almost always get up at the same time and start work between 8 to 9am. That works for me.
I usually eat lunch in, but if I have to go out for something – meetings, post office runs… – I try to time these around lunchtime or mid-afternoon. Just to get some fresh air and break up the day.
I also practice yoga at home every second day or so – usually just before lunch or mid-afternoon, depending on my mood, focus.. And I walk almost everywhere I go. Because I’m based in Collingwood, I’m lucky that nearly everything I have to do is within walking distance. It’s much more calming than public transport and it’s good exercise since I’m at a desk all day.
One of the best parts of working for yourself is having the freedom to work on what you feel like working on. We’re human, we’re not machines, so our mood and energy changes from day to day. I try to work with that rather than against it. But of course, there will always be those times when you have to power through something you really would prefer not to be doing. I think it’s impossible to escape that.
My work is so, so varied. One day I could be doing a photoshoot or interview, another day I might be in the shoot or on the receiving end of the interview. Some weeks are heavily focused on research for editorial, others I’m editing, later on in the editorial calendar I’m deep in design mode. And between those tasks, I’m often working on events or our social media, fulfilling retailer orders or answering customer enquiries. I might spend whole days immersed in putting together a presentation for a talk, other days I devote to my design and consulting work for my studio Oak Park. When I have to wear so many different hats, it’s hard to be too rigid about what you do when. So let’s just say my afternoons are pretty fluid. In fact, my weeks are pretty fluid.
Over the past year, my clock-off time has been pretty late. I’m not someone who is proud that I’ve worked late into the night, but it felt kind of necessary to begin with. But those sort of hours just aren’t sustainable. So I am in the very early stages of trying this new thing where I clock off sometime before dinner, say sometime between 5 to 7pm, and only go back to my desk if there is something that absolutely needs to be done that night, not just because I still have work to do. There is always work to do.
Peppermint tea and a book or a show before bed!