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  • Shelby Woods

Growing as a Senior

As a layout and design editor, my position is valuable editorially because it helps make every decision of the group tangible. The staff could accept and pair each individual piece of writing and art, yet without the role of layout and design being filled, their visions would never become complete visual representations. Creating each issue is obviously an important part of my role on Élan, but layout and design has a hand in many other aspects of the magazine world as well.

As a member of this team, creating and producing flyers, pamphlets, brochures, or any other informational tool is important in between submissions. While there isn’t a book being created, we make sure Élan has enough of an audience to make the rest of the process run smoothly. We put together the posters that inform our classmates that submissions are open, as well as flyers and pamphlets to introduce the public to the fact that our work exists for them to purchase or submit to.

One of the best parts about being on the Élan staff is that we get to reap the benefits of our work to get outside submissions. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to read and accept submissions from our own creative writing department, but receiving work apart from that category lets the magazine reach its most creative and interesting point.

I think that because we are taught only literary work at DA, it is easy for writers to all fold into the same type of writing. Literary work is always beautiful, but it’s interesting when it is broken up in the book by different outside voices. Outside submissions are important because our audience at Élan expects to be reading the very best work from youth. Although many of the writers from Douglas Anderson do reach that standard, it is arrogant to believe our school holds the only best work.

As a young person, I know that putting your work out there is one of the scariest and most vulnerable things to do. Submitting to Élan was one of the best things I have ever done in terms of upholding my confidence as a writer. I used to believe that I didn’t need validation to prove that I knew what I was doing. I let fear hold me back from so many opportunities because I couldn’t stand the thought of rejection. I created this sense of pride on not applying or submitting my work. It wasn’t until I saw my name in print that I realized how much I actually craved validation. Being accepted into the Élan magazine was like I had finally proved to myself that I can make it into the world with my writing.

That being said, there have also been times when a piece I submitted was rejected. It’s really important to understand that not being published doesn’t mean the work submitted wasn’t good enough. Submitting over again once you’ve been rejected shows your bravery as an artist. It took until I was an upperclassman to realize that writing is only half about your talent. The rest relies completely on your bravery to grasp the opportunities you’re given. I discovered that being rejected is only an invitation to submit again.

I would like to challenge any writers out there to submit something to this years fall issue. Whether you’ve submitted to the book before or not, the experience of allowing a piece to feel completed enough to submit is one that will never be regretted. Being vulnerable and brave enough to showcase your work will help you grow as an artist.

- Shelby Woods, Senior Layout and Design


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