article written by Megan McKague
The Ottawa Arts Review has been very busy this last year! Since being brought onto the team as the Editor in Chief in late October of 2018, I have seen the incredible progress and hard work my team has dedicated to keeping this opportunity available to emerging creatives in the city. The artistic talent I have seen is unbelievably wonderful and I am so pleased to have the honour of reading the work of hundreds of artists in the city and beyond. With our Spring issue in its final stages I find myself both proud and in admiration of all those who submitted their work.
When I came to university I had the desire to write and publish my own work, but it took me years to build up enough courage to submit my work to a literary journal. I was nervous for others to read my work. I kept putting it off; I was constantly telling myself that I’d submit my work when ‘I’m more experienced’. After my second year of university I finally decided to submit a single piece to an international journal. I waited for weeks to hear back, and when I did I got a rejection. It’s scary to submit work, so when I see so many submissions come in I am beyond impressed by the amount of writers who are willing to take the leap I was afraid to take for so long.
Working as an editor has taught me quite a few things about publishing and literary journals. The first thing that I learned is how important it is to pay attention to the submission guidelines. (If you are planning to submit your work to Ottawa Arts Review, please read through those!) Every year we have to remove several pieces from our subpacks for not following the submission guidelines. While there are probably many good pieces in there, they may have been filtered out early because of the aforementioned issue.
Going through high volumes of work can take time, but I do reserve periods in my day-to-day life to sit down, relax, and read through the work that has made it through to the editors. I get excited to see what pushes people to write or create throughout the year. Although we can’t accept them all, I do enjoy the experience of reading the thoughts of others.
There is so much potential and so many powerful ideas behind the works of creators who submitted their work. I know that potential will continue to grow and develop through experience and fine-tuning or editing.
From personal experience, never stop submitting your work. Always be open to sharing what you’ve created with individuals because you never know who might need to read it or hear it. Try out different styles. Read your work out loud and see if that is how it deserves to be presented. Keep creating.