This was my first semester as a part of the Sequoya Review staff. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about literary publishing and how to go about editing a literary magazine. The first thing I learned was that I had no idea what I was doing. I felt completely in over my head. I am a newspaper editor, I deal with facts, attribution, quotation marks, and no comas before “and.” I am a girl in the middle of a world of objectivity and I had been dropped into a sea of creativity. It was daunting, nervewracking, and humbling. Thankfully I was surrounded by people who had sat right where I was and they made it out alive, so there was atleast some hope for me.
We dove right in to the reading process and I figured I would do pretty well with this, because I have been able to read for many years now. With the first story I realized how different this process would be than editing my newspaper. Any form of writing requires dedication and heart, because it is art. This writing though, is like someone placing their soul out on the paper and I had to decide what I liked or disliked about it. I began to wonder if I was really qualified to be making these decisions, what did I know about literary editing? I was just the new kid on the block. I definitely felt at home when the copy editing started though, that I did every week, so I knew I could at least handle dealing with the punctuation.
With each story I became more emotionally invested in the process. It was an honor to be able to read these writer’s thoughts and an even greater honor to be a small help in the process of getting them to publication. So instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t know I started asking questions, even the embarrassing ones everyone else seemed to know the answer to. I learned several things over the course of the semester, all of which I will be able to use in my future career as a journalist, writer, or circus preformer for all I know.
1. There will always be many people who know far more than you do so just accept it now and save yourself and everyone else the pain of you pretending you know everything.
2. Ask questions even if they are embarrassing, because not asking is far worse in the long run than not knowing.
3. There are unlimited types of writing and all of them are an art form.
4. You can always learn more about any subject.
5. Having a competant, well organized staff is not an option if you want success, it is a must. End of discussion.