Meet Shailee Koranne, Co-founder of Lucky Penny Magazine

Sometimes, you simply know when an individual will become successful and accomplish great things. I am sure that those who know Shailee and her accomplishments thus far will agree when I say that she is bound to do some incredible things in the future. So, I am telling you right now: be on the lookout for Shailee Koranne.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I enjoyed interviewing her as a peer and former classmate. 

“Don’t get stuck in that practice of ‘I’ll publish something when I’m absolutely sure I know everything.’ You will never know everything.” 

1. What advice would you offer those who want to have their articles published? What makes an article good enough?

I don’t know! I feel like whenever I write articles, I never feel like they are quite good enough. I think that as long as you are speaking genuinely and not changing your tone to suit an audience, it is good enough. I learned that the hard way. In the pursuit of getting published, you will take any publication and write something based on what they want, which is something you will have to do. But if you are just getting started, you have to establish a tone that you know is yours—maintain unpretentiousness and try to be real. So, it does not matter what you are writing about as long as you are not faking it.

2. How did you get Lucky Penny Magazine started? What inspired you to start it?

As I was saying earlier, publishing is scary. So, I wanted to establish my own audience. I wanted an outlet to publish stuff without it being scary. I wanted a place to practice getting published, practice what it means to come up with an idea and work on it with people, and put it out there. I am working on [Lucky Penny] with two of my best friends which makes it really easy. They are in illustration and design, which is very important for any publication. We are all getting into areas that we did not think we ever could do stuff in. They are starting to write and I am looking into art and web designs because there are only three of us.

[Lucky Penny] came from a desire of having a comfortable place to put my work out there, a place that feels more professional than a Tumblr blog. We were also going along with the notion of wanting our friends to be involved with it too. It is so nice to have our friends reach out and say, “Hey, I wrote a poem, could you put it on your website?”

It is to keep ourselves working creatively because we do not get to do that in school, and to do it in a place where it isn’t scary, like someone’s publication. The process was really easy, you cannot do it alone but as long as you have a couple people willing to put in effort with you, and you buy a URL and have ideas, it is very easy.

3. What is the biggest struggle you have had to face as a young writer?

What I struggle with is naïveté. I struggle with the fact that my opinions are always changing. I am learning as I am writing, and that’s why I was so embarrassed with my Oakville Beaver articles; I wrote those when I was 11-14 years old. Looking back on it now, I have written a lot of articles that have tones of internalized misogyny and as you grow, you look back and think, “Wow, I don’t feel that way at all anymore.”

I am afraid every time I write and publish something, that that is going to happen again where five years from now, I will look back on an article and think, “I don’t feel that way at all.” When you publish an article, you feel like it is permanent—I do not like permanence. I think that people hold you to [written pieces] too. We see it all the time. Prominent figures in the media will have things dug up from their recent past or their far past, and people will say, “You can’t be a feminist because you said this three years ago in a text.”

So, I think what I struggle with is trusting that it is okay if my opinions change because that is part of life. I write a lot about equity issues and equity is all about learning and unlearning. I am bound to look back on something I wrote and think, “I don’t feel that way” or “I could have written that better.”

4. How do you manage to balance everything that you are involved in—school, being a writer, and having a social life?

If I am being completely honest, I do not think that I am giving 100% to anything. I know I have it in me to give 100% with everything that I am involved in right now. I am getting used to balancing my time because it is still new to me. I feel like I am giving the most effort to Sophmore Magazine [as editor], and my freelance writing because I care so much about them—it comes very naturally to me.

Also, I think that most people do not have it in them to give 100% to everything when they are doing a lot. School does not make it any easier. I would not be able to be editing for Sophmore, working on Lucky Penny, and doing freelance writing, if I was giving 100% to school. My grades have to suffer for me to be able to work on my extra-curricular activities.

I am not entirely sure what I want to do after my undergrad. I do not know if I want to go to grad school or find a job, and that is why I do not know what to focus on. I am trying to give equal amounts to each project I am working on. It does not feel like I am, but I’m trying.   

5. How would you describe anxiety?

Anxiety feels like watching everything happen around me as though I am not a part of it. It feels like you are watching a movie where you want the character to do something, but they just won’t—and you are that character. When I get into bad episodes of anxiety, it feels like I am watching myself shut down and I can't do anything about it. That's what it feels like. 

I would like to thank Shai for taking the time to answer the many questions I had for her; I know I asked a lot. I also encourage those of you who are interested in publishing your articles to contact Shai as she is a wonderful individual who will provide guidance in the practice of being a writer. If you are interested in more information on Lucky Penny Magazine, check out their Facebook Page!