Grit Blogs > Joy in the Journey

An Editor's Bliss

By Jennifer Nemec


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Work Piling UpWe're right in the thick of putting out the magazine this week (we ship the issue that you all will see in September at the end of next week). Even though it always involves stress and work literally piling up around me, I truly love it. It comes with an energy and a fast pace that fuels my deadline-driven soul. I've been working in publishing for 15 years this summer, and I can't imagine another life for me.

My time with "The GRIT" (as our more venerable readers call it) has been especially sweet. The group I work with here has a very special chemistry. The best part is when we get the machine going. When it's purring right along, the magazine and our team become one. K.C. provides the inspiration, Hank the instigation, and Jean and I are almost to the point of finishing each other's sentences. While each of us has moments of panic, we keep each other going and help each other through.

"I just talked with Michelle [she's our off-site art director], and she's really excited about how far ahead we are," I tell the rest of the staff. "We are just worrying because we're usually more ahead of schedule." And they reassure me that, yes, people will want to read about laundry.

The nuts and bolts of putting out a magazine aren't incredibly thrilling to talk about – adding a comma there, futzing with an image until it fits just so, cutting a few unneeded words to make an article fit in the space we've got – but watching the pages as they all come together and seeing the cover in color on the wall brings a particular thrill, and a palpable excitement hangs in the air.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to make magazine magic for you all.

jnemec
7/18/2008 2:50:51 PM

Hi Villette, The journey to a cover image is long. :) Around here we start by testing our cover lines. When we have the top few of those, we look at a *lot* of images (I'd say more than 500). Then I "mock some up," which involves dropping them into an old cover template. For the upcoming issue (S/O '08) I did 80 mockups. Hank really likes to see what an image looks like with GRIT and lines on top of it. We're always a little amazed by what works and what doesn't. It never fails that one of our favorites just won't fit in, and one that we're only doing half-heartedly turns out to be gorgeous. We all get together and narrow the field before we send out a survey (be on our list to get the survey by filling out the form in the upper right-hand corner of this page and checking "Editorial Advisory Group" before you hit submit). We usually survey 8-9 of the best. Then, we use that data to narrow it down to two or three and do a "run-off" survey. We really trust our readers and listen to their opinion in this part of the process. So far I've loved all of the ones our readers have picked! Thanks for asking! Jenn


villette
7/18/2008 9:12:21 AM

I love a deadline myself. Somehow, it increases my creativity--and my motivation. You know, I bet some folks think of producing a magazine as very esoteric. How do you decide on the cover picture, for instance?