Sunday #40: September 30, 2012 – My Name on the Page

This week’s blog post is nothing more than shameless self-promotion. I was tempted to apologize for that, but I decided not to; a blog is, after all, a form of self-promotion by its very nature. So here is my pat on the back to myself…

From March this year until the present, I have been a volunteer editor on the editorial board of Earth Common Journal at MacEwan University. The journal, developed by MacEwan faculty member Lucille Mazo, is a “student-driven project published by the MacEwan University Bachelor of Communication Studies program. It is an international, undergraduate, peer-reviewed academic journal that provides a forum where students share research on conservation, sustainability, and global warming.”

Most articles in the latest volume—published today, September 30, 2012—were written by MacEwan students. I am proud to say that I wrote two of the articles. One is a profile of Diana Duzbayeva who won the journal’s award for cover design. The other is “To the Arctic, For the Arctic,” a review of To the Arctic, an IMAX film I saw and was deeply moved by. It’s a gorgeous film about a family of polar bears dealing with the negative impacts of global warming on their Arctic habitat. I’ve had a few small items published before, but the excitement of seeing my name, Tracey L. Anderson, listed as an author never diminishes. I also enjoyed learning more about what it’s like to have an editor edit your work. On one hand, an editor help improves your writing; on the other hand, it’s sometimes a little hard to accept criticism. (We writers can be a little sensitive at times.)

Working as part of the editorial board—comprised of eight MacEwan students, including me—was also a tremendous learning experience. In the past, much of the editing I did was in situations where I had authority to change anything I wanted. In the context of working with authors for the journal, it was a much more collaborative process. Every comment I made was only a suggestion, and authors could use suggestions or discard them as they saw fit. I admit that the control freak in me found that difficult, but of course, learning to let go of ownership is critical to my learning as an editor. When I got a little frustrated, I recalled what an editor once said at a guest lecture, “It’s not your book!” That worked as a great reminder that at the end of the process, it is the author’s name on the final product, not mine, so it should reflect him or her, not me.

Although my name is not on the end products, I am proud of the editing work I did at ECJ, especially on two articles. I worked with Aleksandra Nasteska and Victoria Wee on the major feature “Discovering the Future Canadians Want: Insights from the We Canada Cross-Country Tour.” I also edited the article that won second prize in the best article category, “Building Pressure: Buried Costs of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.”I even got a public thank you from the author, Derek Neil Pluim, in his acceptance speech. (Like I said earlier, shameless self-promotion.)

My experience with Earth Common Journal has given me tremendous practical experience I could not have gotten from classes alone. I feel much more prepared for the professional world as a result. And I admit, seeing my name on the page again was pretty awesome too!

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