Meet the web team for the Mochila Review! Web Manager Lindsey Lucas is a senior pursuing degrees in English for both Literature and Creative Writing and Publishing. Social Media Editor Cameron Pike is a sophomore pursuing a degree in English for Creative Writing and Publishing. Web Editor Zachary Evans is a junior pursuing a degree in English for Technical Communication.
Q: Why did you decide to become part of the staff of the Mochila Review?
L: I don’t think I really knew what it was when I signed up; I just thought it looked interesting. I volunteered to handle the social media, and ended up working on that for the next three semesters. As soon as that first semester got underway, I knew I had found my people.
C: Partly because it’s a requirement for my major, partly because I wanted to see the internal workings of a literary journal. I’d seen some of the on goings last semester from afar, and made a promise to myself that I would be part of that team. Now that I’m here, they’re going to have a hard time getting rid of me.
Z: I joined the Mochila Review to fulfill my major, and to learn more about the publication process.
Q: What does your staff role entail? What duties are you responsible for?
L: I am responsible for managing the web team–this means helping the social media editor with scheduling posts and with content ideas, and helping the web editor keep everything up-to-date on the website.
C: I’m the social media editor, so I am responsible for posting to our social media accounts. Currently we’re on Facebook and Twitter (just search Mochila Review), but we’re working on setting up a YouTube account and Instagram. Most of what I do is promoting events, and I’m the connectivity link between our readers and contributors and the staff.
Z: I am responsible for making sure that the website stays up to date, and making needed changes to the site.
Q: As a creative writer, what is your area of expertise? L: My “area of expertise” is poetry, though it is more like my “area of trying really hard and slowly improving.” It is the genre I hope to become an expert in, eventually.
C: I’m a sort of jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to writing. I’ve dabbled in everything from prose, to poetry, to scripts and screenplays. I wouldn’t say I’m more than average at any of it, but I’m working at it. I promise.
Z: I consider myself primarily a short story writer, but I have written some poetry as well.
Q: Has being part of the Mochila Review staff helped you as a writer? In what way?
L: Definitely. Being an editor and reading submissions will quickly teach you not only what you like or don’t like about the writing in a piece, but also why and how to express it. Working on the social media has also been a big help to me, because it has forced me to be succinct, occasionally.
C: I now know what editors are looking for in submissions, which helps me better revise my work to a form that I, as an editor, would publish. It’s good to be on both sides of that submission letter. You become more sympathetic to the fact that each rejection is sent by an actual person who took the time to read your work.
Z: I am still new to the Mochila Review, but I think that reading other good works is always a helpful tool for growing as a writer.
Q: What is one unique thing about you?
L: I am an introvert, which means that I often enjoy being alone. I write much more fluently than I speak. I use a lot of sticky notes. I play the ukulele, poorly.
C: This is going to sound really weird, but I can touch my feet to my head. It was something I learned to do in fourth grade for gym class, and I’ve been able to do it ever since. I’m a little worried about what it does to my spine, though.
Z: I play the banjo.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
L: I really enjoy young adult fiction, and my favorite author is probably Shannon Hale or Maureen Johnson. My favorite poets are Claudia Emerson, Ted Kooser, and Zachary Schomburg, among many others.
C: My top author is Stephen King, hands down. I have only once met a King book I didn’t like. I have a tendency to read more fiction that I do poetry, but if I had to pick a favorite poet, it would probably be the late Maya Angelou, though Allen Ginsberg would be a close second.
Z: My all-time favorite author is John Steinbeck, but my favorite current author is John Grisham.
Q: What is your favorite literary magazine?
L: I really enjoy Boxcar Poetry, which is an online journal, and 32 Poems is great as well. I have a 32 Poems t-shirt, actually. And the Susquehanna Review is another undergraduate journal that is really good.
C: The Mochila Review, obviously. But other than that, the Indiana Review. I like what their social media editor is doing, and its great inspiration. I like to see what other literary journals are doing on Facebook and Twitter so I know how to improve my own posts.
Z: I haven’t really read many, but the Armchair/Shotgun sounds pretty cool.
Q: Any last advice for aspiring authors who wish to submit their work?
L: After you write something, set it aside for a while until you stop having strong feelings about it. Then revise! Do this a couple of times… but only a couple of times. Eventually, you need to blast “The Eye of the Tiger” and send out those submissions! It’s not as scary as you think. If an editor says no, just send it somewhere else, or revise it one more time. Good luck, and hopefully we see some of your work!
C: First write. Then revise. Then do that some more. Writing is never just a one and done kind of thing. It’s going to take some serious work; you are going to want to give up. I actually did give up for the longest time, but I’m so glad I got back into the game. It’s going to be a long and painful process, but keep working at it, and keep submitting. Attend workshops if you can, and find people you trust to tell you when something isn’t working.
Z: Write with a purpose. There are stories everywhere; just get out and write them.