Initially, I planned on attending a session called “Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry: Feature Writing with Impact,” but, alas, it got canceled. So, at the very last minute, I shuffled through my ACP/CMA convention booklet, to find another session to attend. I decided to go a little (or, a lot, rather) out of the box and attended “Prospects for Careers in Magazines: Lit and Slick, Q&A Session,” led by Megan Sexton of Georgia State University. Literary magazines are something I’ve had little exposure to, and being someone who enjoys both fiction writing and magazines, I figured it might be cool to attend a session about it. But this turned out to be my least favorite session of all three days.
For one, Sexton spent 15-20 minutes telling the attendees her life story: where she went to school, what her accomplishments were, what magazines she started up, etc. And while it’s always nice to hear success stories, there was no reason for it to take up almost half the session. Finally, the Q&A session began. Students asked a variety of questions, from how to start up a literary magazine at her school to what the “quintessential” poet or short story writer looks like personality-wise. Although I took notes during the session, as I refer back to them, I find it hard to regurgitate anything onto this post. She mentioned a few important things, such as having an extensive skill set as an editor, but most of her answers were either completely unrelated to my personal goals and aspirations or simply not very informational. Most everybody had left the session before it was over.
A few things I found worth noting:
- Envision what you want to accomplish before starting out.
- “The only way to win the lottery is to buy a ticket.” You can’t fail unless you give something a try first.
- Don’t micromanage other editors, but make sure you interact with them.
- Editors should each develop his or her own strategies for success.