A Foot in Each Camp: What It’s Like to Work on Two Literary Journals at Once

Posted by Lara Mangino, CNF reader for 8.2
Along with being a creative nonfiction reader for Gandy Dancer, I also serve as the editor-in-chief for MiNT Magazine, another Geneseo literary journal, and getting to work on both simultaneously has given me a unique viewpoint. Coming to Gandy Dancer with a background in editing has allowed me to offer my perspective on a number of issues; for example, I recall a discussion in class on themed issues. Because MiNT utilizes themes—Roots, Ashes, and Tides have been our most recent—I prefer them and was able to elaborate on their advantages and disadvantages. I bought up how we often feel pressured to choose submissions that fit the theme, although we never require contributors to adhere to it. However, having themed issues also allows us to tell a kind of story with our magazine. In Ashes, we organized the pieces according to tone and told a story of life, death, and rebirth. Thus, my background in MiNT informed how I approached Gandy.

Meanwhile, I also bring what I’ve learned from Gandy to MiNT. In class, I learned more about InDesign; I learned how multiple people can collaborate on the same project, for example. Now I can delegate more responsibilities to members rather than doing it all myself. Additionally, through Gandy, I got a better idea of how to acquire submissions. Previously in MiNT, we had authors email us their submissions. In the future, though, we will have them submit via form because I’ve seen how much simpler Submittable is.

Most importantly, being a part of both magazines has given me an appreciation for their similarities and differences. Students get credit for working on Gandy, so it has a lot more participants, while MiNT is a club and therefore has less students willing to join voluntarily. However, because MiNT is not overseen by faculty, it has a lot more freedom. We can accept what we want, experiment a lot more in our structure and style, and be a lot more casual and funny in our finished product.

Getting to work on both magazines is incredible, and having a foot in each camp is an excellent learning experience. I have so much more appreciation for literary journals now, and I look forward to further honing my skills.

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