A Message to Our Writers

We love your enthusiasm we really do.  Writing for Travis is an honour and a privilege, but I think there’s a miscommunication with what we as a magazine are.  We still have an eye for design, form, and style.  Just check out our Applied Arts’ Young Blood Award that we’ve been bragging about for the last six months.  So we can’t always print everything everyone writes.

This guy told me to prepare to be rejected often as a writer.

When I was in high school my Writers’ Craft teacher gave me some really wise advice, he said “if you want to write, be prepared to paper your walls with rejection letters.”

Writing is a tough gig, as easy as it can be sometimes, you have to have thick skin and a lot of perseverance.  You’re not always going to get printed, there are no promises, things shift and change and sometimes regardless of your quality, you won’t get printed.  Sometimes even if you wrote an amazing article, someone else on the team didn’t meet their deadline and a bunch of people had to get let down.  I wrote a 1200-word feature last year on a photographer that sadly fell through.  It was a bummer, but I bucked up and wrote harder.  That’s the nature of the game.

Look at the Leafs, they just became the team with the longest losing streak in the league.  But we still love ’em.  And they’re not packing it in just yet.  It’s a tough game, there’s a lot of people who’d like to hold that Stanley Cup.  And there’s a lot of us who’d like to hold a magazine with our name in it.  Each month our “writer’s list” grows by 15-20 people.  We’re a 50 page magazine at the best of times, and we can publish roughly 15 writers at the absolute best.  So there’s competition for sure.

I’m not defending us.  I know it sucks not to get published.  That’s life though, I’m a “published” writer and I still don’t always get the writing I do published.  Since the internet took over, the market got way more competitive.  Everyone wants to write about everything.  Do you know how many music/video game reviewers we have?!  A. Lot.  But we do our best.  Burton and Bolton and I and the rest of the Travis team pore over each piece, we dissect it and rebuild it and not all of it goes to print, even the stuff we’ve workshopped and spent time and effort crafting.  But don’t let it get to you. (and you haven’t even seen the design team, they rip each other apart 3 times each issue, often coming up with brand new designs each time).

If you wanted to play on a sports team at Sheridan, and showed up with no reputation or experience in the organized world of the sport, you can expect to be benched.  There isn’t enough money, space, etc to give everyone their fifteen minutes of fame.  You might sit out the entire first season.  There’s nothing you could have done, they didn’t know you, and there was an entire team of people who played last year and the coach knew a ton about.

What could you have done?  Gone to practice.  (In our world it’s called the TRAVIS Blog).  Asked questions.  Let us know personally you were upset.

My grade 10 teacher told me I was a poor English student.  She said my writing was sloppy and that I wasn’t particularly good.  It bummed me out a little bit, but in the remainder of high school I secured my reputation as one of the better writers in the school, and then I majored in English.  I just kept writing.  But if I’d just given up, I would not be where I am today.

We’re here to help.  In the crunch of putting together an issue maybe we don’t communicate or edit and workshop writing as easily, but we’re there.  Keep your chin up and keep trying if it’s important to you.

But if it’s about getting published, your hearts in the wrong place.  I don’t do this for the credit I’ll receive, nor do I do it for the money.  I do it because it’s what I love.

So in the end, keep your chin up and try again if you didn’t get published by Travis.  We can’t publish everyone who drops in and says they want to write, that’s life, nor do the professional sports teams hire everyone that wants to play.  Or large corporations hire everyone who’d like to be CEO.  There’s a lot of people trying, and we appreciate it, we’re a good magazine, we look killer in a portfolio, but it’s because we’re not cramming all 80 people who want to write for us into each issue.  We deliberate carefully, like Tyra does on Top Model, over each piece that we get.  Better luck next time, and remember if you want to write, you need to be prepared to be rejected.

We are so happy to have such an excited roster of writers, and we want everyone to keep writing if it’s their passion!


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