The ZORA CoSign
Calling Out Injustice Is This Medium Creator’s Calling Card
The ZORA CoSign is both a CoSign and an introduction. We celebrate writers
#onhere who unapologetically tell the story, write the poem, paint the picture, and inspire the masses. They also expand and enhance our Medium community.
An Injustice! is a popular publication on Medium, but do you know that Zuva Seven is the person who leads the editorial staff there? And it didn’t all start with An Injustice! Seven, who was born in Zimbabwe but lives in the U.K., first started writing for herself as a “therapeutic hobby.” She initially created An Injustice! as a place for her own work to live. But now? It’s a place where a lot of work lives, crafted by many writers, all to discuss “voices, values, and identities.”
Currently finishing up her degree in South Africa, Seven had grown An Injustice! into a destination with clear guidelines and a stable of repeat writers. Not even a global pandemic could stop that publishing schedule. Meanwhile, the story she would “rescue from the flames” if she had to is this one:
You Live in a City Built on My Silence; Don’t Think I Won’t Burn It All Down
I joined an online writing group run by a self-satisfied white man who thought the femme writer running circles around…
That story in particular helped An Injustice! find its 2020 stride, says Seven, who adds that it’s not all about the claps but about the impact.
“Black women in particular change and dominate the game and are swept over to the sidelines, and this piece speaks to the anger I’ve felt almost all my life,” she writes via email. “It really demonstrates the types of perspectives and stories we are after. After this piece, I knew that the direction the publication was headed in was right.”
We asked Seven a few questions about her life’s work, her mag, and Medium. Here’s what she had to say.
All answers edited and condensed for clarity.
ZORA: What is your “why”?
Zuva Seven: I started writing as a therapeutic hobby. I had really lost myself to the rush of life. I had forgotten who I was and what it was I stood for. Writing became my medium of exploration and trial. I love the process of spilling your guts then spending days refining and editing into something beautiful.
As for editing, I fell into that accidentally. I created the publication for my own pieces but decided that I wanted to open it up to others. From there, our readership and writer count grew, and I have had to deal with a lot of imposter syndrome. I’d always thought editing wasn’t for me (I have Grammarly working overtime on my grammar and spelling), so it was weird to now have authority over other people’s work. Even to this day, I sometimes wake up and question the validity of calling myself an editor, but I do the work because I love helping writers manifest their thoughts into physicality.
Why did you start An Injustice!?
I created the publication as I found it hard to place my pieces in the other publications found on Medium. Yes, there were feminist and politics publications, but they didn’t mainly house pieces that spoke of these issues on the intersections of various identities. Though this wasn’t the impression they sought to give, I almost felt apologetic for the “heaviness” of the content I would publish, and even then I would seldom get many views because the work I made wasn’t being served to the right audience. So, I created the publication to house these stories.
What’s your top writing tip for Medium?
Read the guidelines and look at the work written in Medium-owned publications! Writers are people, and people hate to read the instructions. I also think that we write a piece when the passion is there, and we just want to get it out. But it’s important to hang back and edit your pieces against the guidelines.
Though many people will get their pieces rejected due to content, for the most part, it’s due to not reading the guidelines. Editors are busy, so we cannot walk you through things written on our guideline pages. If you are serious about writing with us, you’ll be serious enough to look at the criteria lists we have set out. These guidelines take forever to write up, so please, please read them. Also, check your work against Medium-owned publications because they definitely have their formatting down.
I assure you, we know when you haven’t checked! You guys aren’t slick!
Do you have a fave quote?
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” —Toni Morrison
This quote really released me from the bondage of replying to trolls and racist comments on social media and on my pieces. With social media making creatives more accessible, it’s important to protect your peace. As she said, there will always be one more thing, so let it go! I now spend my time working on the things I can control, and honestly, it’s been a game-changer.