How to Create a LIT Lit Mag

By Rachel Lu, Senior Writer

I didn’t expect that creating a literary magazine would be a smooth-sailing adventure, but I also didn’t expect to be lost at sea without any navigation or knowledge of where to go. We didn’t know anything about how to create a lit mag, how to publish one, how to advertise submissions and most importantly, how to get the $1500 we needed to create one.

I could’ve chosen to not sail the boat in the first place, especially knowing that I had no prior knowledge on sailing and had no idea where I was heading toward. Luckily, co-president Anne Schill and vice-president Carissa Lee didn’t jump ship, and eventually, we found our way to publication.

Knowing Los Altos didn’t have a lot of opportunities for creative writing and expression, especially in comparison to other schools, set forth my determination to create a lit mag. Gunn High School has classes with an emphasis on creative expression (Escape Literature, Analysis of the Writer’s Craft, Shakespeare in Performance). Palo Alto High School has multiple school publications. At Los Altos, those who want to collaborate with other writers and produce creative writing don’t have the tools to do so. That’s where I hope the lit mag will step in and help create, or at least showcase, that community. I don’t know whether the lit mag will continue on for next year, whether someone will pick up the mantle to create another one for the school. My hope is that the lit mag becomes a staple, or even better, a class that cultivates a creative atmosphere and induces collaboration among peers with similar interests.

But the hardest part of creating the lit mag was not the funding or research or starting a publication with relatively little experience, but selecting pieces to go into the magazine. If I could, I would publish most of the 50 submissions we received. I’m beyond excited that we received so many submissions — it means despite the lack of creative writing and expression opportunities at the school, people are still doing creative work in their free time. Having to reject so many pieces, to be colloquial, sucked. Phenomenally. Rejections can be discouraging, and I’d hate to know that a rejection from our lit mag made someone more hesitant to submit elsewhere. But having so many submissions also means that what we ended up going with is extraordinary.

Each piece in the lit mag is so well-written and crafted, and many resonate with the transformation and growth we experience throughout high school, so get ready for a LIT lit mag y’all, and write on!