The Beauty of Being an Editor-in-Chief

So what’s it like being the Editor-in-Chief of a twenty-year running literary magazine? Well, I’ll say it has its ups and downs. My name is Dominic, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of Willard & Maple, the literary magazine at Champlain College, where I am also a senior in the Professional Writing program.


I won’t lie: During any of our editing meetings, my emotions will cycle through any order of enthused, dumbfounded, angry, fed up, hysterical, tired, hopeful, and so on. But make no mistake—I’m never bitter.


This has been one of the best, most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. Because through all the craziness that goes on in the mountain of emails we weed through, and through all the frustrations of blindly picking up the pieces of past editors (no disrespect), I always come out on the other side thinking that my time was well spent and that the finished product is going to be amazing.


When Willard & Maple XVIII went to print, it was exciting. I was in the midst of my last summer break before my senior year at Champlain. And yet, even though it was mostly spent pondering which beach to go to or planning for my future, I would always be brought back to that one notion: I wonder how the lit mag is doing?


Was I worried? Not really. I trusted the work of my designer, Hannah Wood, and my supervising editor, Kim MacQueen. I trusted that they would get the lit mag looking its best, and that it would be printed and ready to go without complication. But I was always in this sort of suspense — suspense of the best kind. That summer, through all the mundane things going on, I was always waiting for this new edition of Willard & Maple. I was always thinking of how good it would look and feel, but more specifically how good it would look and feel in my own hands.


As soon as I got back to Champlain, I got the release to my three month suspense. I went to Kim’s office, I picked up my very own copy of Willard & Maple XVIII, and I just marveled. To me there was something so beautiful about this bound-together stack of paper. Of course inside and out it looked amazing. But for me, I think the real beauty of it came from seeing the work I put in become something I could hold in my hands and show people. Yes, this is the thing I made. Yes, I lead a team in developing it. And yes, it is wonderful.


And that’s what I hope future Editors-in-Chief will glean from all this. This job is not easy. There will always be the smallest mishaps that throw the whole production awry. But on those days when the editorial staff is at wits’ end, and everyone feels the magnitude of this project, I just want them to remember. The work I put in here will make something beautiful. So let’s keep at it.