From Intern to Assistant Editor

RachelLGuest blogger Rachel Lewis ’14

This summer I worked remotely as an Editorial Intern for Women Writers, Women Books, an online magazine where women submit pieces about their identity and experiences as female writers. As a part of this internship, I have assisted with the creation of a literary journal, When Women Waken. This post will discuss this project and the work that I have done as a part of it.

For When Women Waken, I act as the Assistant Managing Editor. My interests and my skill set align with both creative (the submissions) and professional (the communication with clients) writing. As a Professional Writing and Rhetoric student, I have learned that finding an organization that you can work within and understand the rhetorical situation of is best. Since my studies align so well with the goals and practices of this organization, this has been an ideal role for me to work within.

The first issue of our journal of poetry, prose, and images was published in May with the goal of speaking to the many identities of women writers. I sought out submissions, formatted and uploaded posts to the site, and worked closely with the founding editor to make decisions regarding the look and functionality of the site as well as what posts were selected.

To get submissions, I wrote to people who had submitted to Women Writers, Women Books. This communication occurred through social media sites such as Twitter through public tweets and direct messages.

womenwakenFor the May issue of When Women Waken, my supervisor made the majority of the decisions as far as which pieces to select and which to reject. If at any point she was unsure about a piece, she forwarded me the submission, and we would discuss it in our weekly phone call.

For the August issue of When Women Waken, my supervisor gave me the power to make the first cuts to the submissions. This shows me that I had built my ethos and proven myself as an intern. We created a submissions email, and these emails were all sent straight to me. This was a lot of responsibility, as we received a surprising amount of submissions considering that it was only our second issue.

Reviewing submissions is a process that I really enjoy, as it combines my interests in creative and professional writing. To carry out this process, I went through my emails and collected all of those with “SUBMISSION” in the subject line. I reorganized these emails into a more readable format – instead of having all of the information scattered throughout the email, I organized the documents so that the name and email came first, then the submission, and then the bio and social media links. This was very helpful, and it was easier for my supervisor as well. Instead of leafing through dozens of emails, we could just open a document.

Throughout this process I also carried out professional communication with our clients. I answered their questions about submitting to the journal, explained the goals and mission of my organization, and acted as a go-to during any moments of confusion. This illustrates my understanding of my organization – if I did not understand the rhetorical situation of my work, it would be difficult to assist my clients to this extent.

All in all, I have very much enjoyed my internship with Women Writers, Women Books and the project of When Women Waken. My recommendation for any PWR students looking into getting an internship would be to find something that aligns well with your interests. Because I understand both the professional and creative side of writing, electing to intern at a literary magazine allowed me to benefit my organization and strengthen my own skills as well.

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