The Truth About Editing and F Words

by - June 23, 2016

I am not a person who lacks vision but I am the kind of person who doubts that what I lay down will actually resonate with anyone beyond myself. This goes way back to weird childhood insecurities that don't deserve any bearing on the person I am today; and yet, there they are, sticking their tongue out at me and calling me sticks-and-stones names.

But they are only shadows; lingering fear-teeth that nibble away in moments of doubt—that I have no business feeling, by the way—BECAUSE the world is stepping up to the plate I laid out and taking beautiful swings that are leaving me breathless.

truth about being an editor

Submissions are coming in for the magazine I'm starting. {Remember? I told you all about it here.} They're not pouring in, but they're coming at a steady enough pace that I'm already plugging poetry into the fourth issue! And the biggest shocker is, they're coming in from complete strangers. I had this idea that it would be a major struggle to fill a whole magazine. I imagined myself begging people in my inner circle {like my fellow Writer's Jam members} to give me their work because I just knew I wasn't going to be able to spread the word fast enough to launch the premiere issue in September.


The universe is having a nice belly laugh at my low expectations.

Things I didn't expect:

  • I didn't expect to be receiving submission emails daily. I didn't realize correspondence could take up SO MUCH TIME, and I now understand why every other magazine in the world has a huge team behind it.
  • I didn't think I'd be bold enough to reject a submission. I expected to be so desperate for content that I would accept everything; but, because of the great response, I've been able to confidently {and graciously} pass on anything I didn't think was quite up to par—and while some of the pieces I have accepted aren't my own cup of tea, I'm excited to be able to offer a very diverse collection—hopefully one that speaks to a large audience.
  • I didn't expect Americans to care. I mean, why would they? BUT, the moment I opened up worldwide guest blogging opportunities, they came knocking and I am blown away by the whole-hearted buy-in and support they're giving me.
  • I didn't expect to be taken seriously. Because who am I? What do I know about any of this? But, the most common comment I'm seeing as people introduce themselves in their submission cover letters is that they're connecting with my vision and they love the heart behind it. That's amazing and empowering!
  • I didn't expect hate mail. But does anybody? And I don't want to talk about it anymore but you can read about it here.
  • I didn't expect to stop writing. Okay. This kind of breaks my heart but it's true. I haven't written one word in my own fiction projects since I announced the launch of the magazine. This is unacceptable and I'm working to figure it out. Because I need to write and I need to write more than blog posts. I have to figure out how to manage my time.
  • I didn't expect it to be a full-time job. This was probably naive of me and has a lot to do with my point before. At my best estimate, I've already invested a good 200 hours into this: between building and maintaining the website, reading and answering emails, managing guest blog submissions, plotting layout, being active on social media {though I really need to up my game here}, interviewing artists, and writing articles. At minimum wage I should have a nice $2,280 sitting in my coffers {which would go a long way to cover printing and [astronomical!] shipping costs} yet, in my estimates, I'm sitting at a pretty negative {when you factor in lost time with my family, loss of sleep, and the copious amounts of tea and coffee that keep me plugging away until midnight}.
  • I didn't expect to be using the F word in my email correspondence on such a regular basis. On the website it very clearly states: no vulgarity. I suppose this is relative. What is a swear word in my home is not a swear word in another persons home; yet, when it comes to The F Word, aren't we all on the same page as far as vulgarity? Again, perhaps I'm just naive. The following is a direct quote from my response to a submission {with The Words blanked out, of course}: We too, agree that no topic should be off limits; however, we do need to take a stand against strong language. 'S**t' we can handle. 'F**k' or any of its derivatives is something we want to avoid. That's a sentence I never thought I'd write! Thankfully, the submitter was wonderful about it, took no offense, and is thrilled that I'm going to publish his edited poem in the premiere issue!
  • I didn't expect to be thinking about building a team of volunteers to help me with the work load BUT I am. I'm not sure what that will look like, but if I come knocking, I hope you'll consider joining me on this crazy adventure {in which you'll exchange a stupid amount of hours for caffeine jitters and my wonderful company!}

Thanks to everyone who's been such a positive support on this venture. If you want to help, share Blank Spaces across your social media channels, consider making a donation to my negative coffers {if 20 people make a $1 donation, I can afford to send a contributor a print copy of the magazine their work appears in!}, submit your great work, or just give a nice atta-girl in the comments!

And don't forget, you still have a chance to win a copy of my pretty little short story, Eve Undone. Click on over here and enter the draw at the end of the post. It's running for a few more days so don't miss your chance.

You May Also Like


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! I am soooo proud of you. As you know, I am crazy, stupid busy. The bees are insane. I've totally neglected my blog. BUT, I still save all your emails until I get a minute and then get caught up with you. I read about the magazine launch, and I thought, "Go Alanna!" I am so happy it is going better then expected! I love what you do, and how you share it! Just when I think I am crazy for doing what I am doing, I read that you think you are crazy for doing what you are doing. Then, I just think, "Well, if she can leap, I can leap!"

    1. I adore you! We leap together :) Thanks for the encouragement AND the generous donation. It means the world, my friend, to know you've got my back! I hope those bees give you a break one of these days - I want to read what's going on in your world.


I love comments and I appreciate, consider and read each one. I welcome your thoughts, whether you're in agreement or not; however, this website is a happy place and I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like.

Thanks for visiting!

© Alanna Rusnak