The Lumen is Mercyhurst University’s student arts magazine.
It is an annual magazine, with only a single edition coming out early every year.
Right now, the Lumen is in the phase of accepting applications for art to put into the next edition.
As someone who worked on the Lumen last year, I can say that it is an incredible good for campus.
A large part of this comes down to the fact that the Lumen is a mostly student-run project.
Everything from the art contained in the Lumen to the design of the book itself is done by students.
Students vote on which work goes where in the final magazine, students do most of the editing and so on.
While Mercyhurst’s faculty and staff still play a strong role in making the Lumen a reality, it is undeniably the sum product of talented and motivated students coming together to make something special.
This, as you would expect, makes the Lumen a great place for students to express themselves and put their art out there.
This goes for all students, even those who have never published their work before.
So, with all that preamble out of the way, I think its time to discuss why I think all students who are able should submit their work to the Lumen.
For one, it is a great growing experience.
For most of us, it will be the first time that we have submitted something of our own to a magazine.
It will be, for some, the first time they have had to actively communicate and work with an editor in order to make their product better.
For those editing the Lumen, it will likely be their first time that they get professional editing experience that will help them score internships and jobs down the line.
Basically, every part of the process of interacting with the Lumen helps you grow, both as an artist and as a person.
The next reason you should submit is that it allows you to get feedback on your work.
We live in a world where it is easy, even encouraged, to never show your work to anybody.
But if you never show your work to others for feedback, you will never improve.
While you can be a good critic of your own work, you will always miss things.
When you’re in the thick of writing something, the flaws of what you are creating aren’t going to be apparent.
Someone else independent of yourself has the vantage point from which to see these flaws.
Because they will spot these flaws, you’ll be able to correct them, creating a stronger work in the end.
There are countless little things about your own writing that you never realize until someone points them out to you.
You’ll grow to realize all the little ticks and phrases that you use to the point of annoyance in your work.
This feedback can help you grow as both an artist, and as an individual.
The final reason why you should submit to the Lumen is that it helps you build connections here on campus.
By submitting to the Lumen, and by working with the editors of your work, you get to know other students and staff.
I know that by working with the Lumen, I’ve come to know many of my fellow classmates better.
There are also some worries I’ve heard from students about submitting to the Lumen.
Many people are afraid of putting their own work out there.
I understand that putting your own work out there can be a scary experience.
Many of us are used to working and creating in isolation, keeping our creations to ourselves.
Showing them to other people opens up the terrifying possibility of rejection.
What if you submit your work to be judged by other people, and people don’t like what you’ve made?
But I believe that the fear of rejection goes deeper than that, at least for me.
Art is something deeply, intractably, personal.
It’s a part of yourself that you have removed from your being, and have committed to the page.
As a result, rejection of your art can feel like a rejection of yourself.
To be honest, it’s that fear from the possibility of rejection that has kept me from submitting to the Lumen until this year, despite the fact that I’ve always wanted to submit something.
Of course, this fear is ultimately a little silly, when you actually sit back and think about it.
Rejection of your art is not rejection of yourself.
People can dislike what you’ve written and still like you.
It can be sometimes difficult to see that through the weeds, but it’s true.
The second big worry that I often come across is that it will take too long to create something.
Truth is, once you get into creating art, things go by rather quickly.
Plenty of good things have been written quickly.
Not everything good has been written over the course of 30 or so years, especially when it comes to first works.
In fact, most first works are written just like a submission to the Lumen, quickly and passionately.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take your time when writing.
But what I am saying is that the nine or so days between the publication of this article and the deadline for submissions to the Lumen is more than enough time to write something you can be proud of.
Want some undeniable proof of that?
Ray Bradbury wrote the first draft of his classic novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” over the course of around nine days.
And I can guarantee that that draft was much longer than anything that will be submitted to the Lumen this year.
Don’t be afraid of rejection, or of not having spent enough time on your creation.
If you write and complete something, then you will have still created something.
And that is more than many people are able to say.
In all, I think that every student who is able should submit to the Lumen.
It’s a great experience for everyone involved.
It helps builds connections between the student body, and helps participants grow as both artists and people.
While there are undoubtedly reasons to be nervous about submitting to the Lumen, those fears should not hold you back from expressing yourself in the form of art.