As I approach my two-month mark as an intern, I am happy to say that so far I haven’t needed to make any copies or go on any coffee runs—at least not for anyone but myself. Instead, I’ve been spending my time more valuably—by sticking my nose into every part of Paper Darts. As a senior English major, getting ready to transition into the working world outside of a liberal arts campus bubble could be a pretty terrifying thing. Lucky for me, I’ve already learned quite a few valuable lessons from various Paper Darts departments that have given me insight into the workings of the literary/non-profit-y/artsy universe.
- Know your audience. Know the magazine’s style. The editorial team may fall in love with your work, but could end up heartbroken if the piece just “isn’t the right fit."
- Read the submissions guidelines. You could be the next James Joyce, but no one will ever know it if you're doing things like sending in a single-spaced 38-page story when the max is 13.
- Go there. I’ve found the pieces that make the most buzz in meetings to be the ones that aren’t immediately marked “yes." Editors want to be intrigued. They want to duke it out. If they can’t decide, they might ask you to send something else, make some edits, or to send it again in a few months for a fresh look—these are all good signs.
- Use the internet wisely. Keep up with whatever is trending this week, this day, this hour. The freshest links to the latest art and literary buzz generates cyber-traffic and makes your org Facebook Famous.
- Read and research related blogs and organizations. It's important to know who would be interested in what you do.
- Make connections. Need help generating Twitter chatter about an event? Hit up so-and-so, that guy whose show you shouted-out on social media. He may be able to return the favor.
- Man, printing magazines is expensive.
- But, strategically using your resources can help reduce costs. If there’s one thing I’m far from mastering, it’s the art of mingling. Knowing who can help you, whether it’s in printing, planning an event, or looking for a hit emcee to host party is an acquired and valuable skill. You have to know who to call to make your vision a reality.
- Dang, publishing content online almost every day is a lot of work.
- But it can, and does happen if you know how to work closely as a team. To divide and conquer. To know each other’s specialties (and how to use them).
Of course, there are things I’m still learning, and things I’m still working on; like not squealing every time a Paper Darter mentions (insert local artful celebrity here). But it’s ok to still brag about it to a classmate the next day, right?
When she’s not doing intern work for Paper Darts, Rebecca Schultz can be found running circles around an Ultimate Frisbee field, eating a burrito, or relating Seinfeld to every social situation.