Existential crises (and other highlights)

By Lauren Phillips

So I haven’t been the best about updating this — conventions are more exhausting than I thought. Thank goodness I brought candy corn to keep me going.

I’ve been to several sessions over the last few days. Some have been great. Some have been not so great. Some have been a little bizarre. I’m hoping to put up full re-caps of my days here (mostly for myself, so I can remember everything), but for now, a few highlights:

  • In a session about how to write magazine features, I was blown away by Mark Mayfield’s lecture. He has great experience working with magazines in New York City and Birmingham, and he currently is an adviser at the University of Alabama. He had great things to say, and when I spoke with him after the session, he offered to sit down with me and go over Elon University’s student magazine, The Edge. That discussion merits its own post, but I’m not exaggerating when I say it was phenomenal.
  • A session about magazine editing offered great insight into how magazine editors — print and digital — work with writers. I’m still not sure if I want to be a writer or an editor (can’t I just be both?), but this session was amazing and taught me a lot more about how magazines function and deal with freelancers.
  • A literary magazine roundtable blew my mind. I’m still new to working with literary magazines, so everything the other editors had to say was incredibly informative, and I can’t wait to get back to school and apply what I learned.

Speaking of what I learned, a few useful tidbits:

  • Newspaper graphics can be sexy. (Who knew?)
  • Don’t wear orange, ever. It’s the least powerful color.
  • We are either weasels, or we are birds. Or we are a team, presumably of weasels and birds.

Actually, think about that last one for a while: Are we weasels? Or are we birds?

I’ve been asking myself the same thing all morning.

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