Growing as a Digital Media Editor

The hardest part about my role in Élan is figuring out the right things to say and the right ways to portray Élan on both our social media and our website. As someone who did not use social media very often when I was assigned the role of being a digital media editor, stepping into the social media part of my role was more difficult. I wasn’t allowed to slack off or hope someone else could do my job, because as a part of Élan overall, the digital media team is how the world sees us as a magazine, especially as a student ran and published magazine, which makes the job even more important and special. When Élan has events and those who attend want to find out more about us, they are either directed to the website or our social media. I felt a lot of pressure at first, sometimes I still do when we have several events going on in such a short amount of time. When it was time for me to take over as the junior digital media editor in the second semester of the last school year, that is when I really got more confident in my role and what I was doing. I took more responsibility for what I had to do, and I did it with pride in the fact that I was helping spread what Élan meant to me and the rest of the staff.

My triumph in my role came from learning how to do my job as a digital media editor and knowing I was doing the job right. Taking on the digital media editor role, for me, was a lot of change, but looking at how much I have grown since I have gotten my role and actually stepped into my job as something I wanted to do, I am so thankful for it and I wouldn’t want to trade my position with anyone else. When I took on the job, I kept a lot to myself and I was not very good at communicating with others, but in the same time period that I took over the digital media team as a junior and took responsibility for what I was doing, I also learned to communicate better, have more control with what I wanted instead of standing back and having others tell me what to do. Learning to do that in my experience as an Élan member is very important because without this job, I wouldn’t have learned that, and it was something essential for me to know so I could grow as a person.

On our social media and website, the digital media team constantly will update when submissions are for all of our book editions, for both art and writing, as well as update for the events we will be doing in future months. Élan has at least two submissions period, one in the Fall, for the Online Fall Edition, and the second in Spring, for the Online Spring Edition. Near the end of the year the team chooses work from both books, as well as new submissions to be in our print book. All three books are highlighted on our social media and our website, along with our past books. Even if you are someone who submits, but does not get a piece into the actual books, it is still special to read through the books and see the beautiful art or pieces of writing others your age can create.

Catriona Keel, Senior Digital Media Editor

Celebrating Growth and Joy

This year, I am one of the senior Layout and Design editors for Élan. My responsibilities have changed since the year before, and I’m excited to grow into this role. Élan is a beautiful magazine that allows teen writing and art to live in one place; I know that showcasing teenager’s passion, and talent is extremely important for the literary/art community to see. Young artists need to be acknowledged, and Élan does that.  I have always been proud of what I do at Élan, but considering that this is my senior year, and I’m a mentor, I feel more joy and pride. My responsibility is to pass down my editorial knowledge to my junior counterpart, but I also want to pass down my love for Élan. It is exciting to see a “new generation” of staff members, and seeing Élan grow and evolve.

Submitting to Élan is a chance to tell the world that you are here. Élan has always been special to me; this international literary magazine is made by students, for students, and to me that is a wonderful thing. The Élan staff is supporting other students, other young artists, and we are giving these teens a voice. For so long teenagers have been silenced in plenty of different spaces, and the literary and arts community have sadly been one of them. It is extremely important to have Élan as a place that allows teens to express themselves in the truest ways possible.

As a writer, I’m inspired by all the new pieces that are submitted for our issues; it is amazing how so many different types of people can express themselves through such creative writing and art pieces. From junior year to senior year, my personal growth as a writer can be contributed to reading. Reading poetry books at home, reading short stories, reading submissions to Élan. I get excited when Élan opens their submissions because it is a unique chance to read and select works from teens who are just as dedicated to their art as I am. Personally, I try to put my all into my writing, and it shows that these artists do as well; it’s crazy how so many young artists create with so much life inside of them. I have always struggled with being honest with myself on the page, and truly expressing anything; last year, I had to get comfortable with being vulnerable with myself and others. I had many places that I felt like I could go out of my shell, but Élan showed me that there are other teenagers around the world who are also putting themselves out there, and that it’s okay. I had real life examples of young writers being vulnerable and true; I grew with my writing during my junior year, and I had the space to allow me to do so, for that I am forever grateful for Élan.

Luz Mañunga, Senior Layout and Design

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