Writer’s guidelines

Greetings:

The blog’s goal is to move people into positive thinking and action. The blog leans more heavily to the left than the right.

What’s expected of writers? First of all, are you a writer? You don’t need to be a professional newspaper reporter, magazine writer or in other writing careers. If you can write a logical, passionate, persuasive and easily understandable opinion piece that makes readers think and encourages them to act positively, you are a writer as far as we’re concerned.

Commitment: We ask that you commit to providing at least one opinion piece every month to six weeks over the course of a year. Submit posts more frequently if you feel compelled to do so. Please note: We know this is an add-on to your already-busy schedule, so we’re very understanding if you’re unable to contribute every month.

Audiences: The blog’s primary audience is middle-class Americans. Decision-makers and the news media are secondary audiences, yet still very important.

What topics can I write about? You can author posts about any topic as long as the subject is well-researched and your opinions are logical and well-reasoned. Focus on current events. Here are some suggested topic areas: global warming, women’s rights, health care, jobs, the economy, public education, hacking, political swamps, congress, terrorism, nuclear weapons, clean water, building dams, protesting, animal welfare, oil, pipelines, Trump, the cabinet, immigration bans…these are among many other issues that currently impact the lives of Americans.

Now, having listed those heavily serious topics above, please be aware that writers are encouraged to focus on other subjects, too—humor, challenges of daily life, history, travel, adventure, relationships, and other topics that would interest and entertain readers, or otherwise enrich their lives.

10 tips:

  1. Write posts that interest readers throughout the U.S., particularly middle-class Americans, rather than solely readers in your own community.
  2. As much as possible, humanize your post by including information about individuals and how they may be impacted by an issue.
  3. If you write about a topic heavily localized to your community or focuses on events of the past, somehow relate it to current issues and times of the nation or world. Two examples: Local efforts to curb greenhouse gas can be related to the broader topic of climate change; remembrances from the turbulent late ‘60s could be related to political and social concerns that we face now.
  4. Use facts and well-reasoned arguments, rather than name-calling, to support your topic.
  5. If practical, include a call-to-action and ideas on how to take action.
  6. If you can, send in art (photos or drawings) that help illustrate your post.
  7. Please suggest a headline. 10 words or less.
  8. Blog length: 500 to 1,000 words. More is okay if the topic demands it, but keep your article as short as possible.
  9. If you can, provide links where the reader can get more info on the topic you wrote about.
  10.  Most important tip: Have fun writing.

How are blog posts edited? Delicately. The editing goal is to keep your message and writing style intact. You will receive an edited draft before publication to ensure the accuracy of what you intended.

How often are entries to be posted? We’re posting at least two a week, but the number may increase in the near future.

How long will it take for my piece to be posted? The goal is for the turnaround to be two to three days from the time the writer submits the article. 

What else do you need from me (the writer)? Please submit a short biography and a photo of yourself. Both are important to help humanize the writers for the readers.

How is the blog distributed? Through multiple social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Tumblr, to name a few. It is also posted to Twitter accounts of national news outlets and reporters, as well as emails and Twitter feeds for politicians and others. If you have a specific site where you would like your piece posted, please let us know, or post it there yourself.

How can I help with the distribution? Writers are encouraged to post every blog entry (yours and those of other writers) on your own Facebook and Twitter accounts, and, as appropriate, distribute a link to the posts via your email contacts who may be interested. We’ll send you a suggested introductory paragraph to use when you post to your social media accounts. By the way, if you’re not comfortable with the topic of a post or participating in promotional efforts, it’s okay.

How is the blog’s success measured? Readership statistics, reader comments and anecdotal information. We do not yet have a target goal for measuring success.

Will I be paid for my work? No. Everyone associated with the blog is a volunteer.

Will every submitted article be posted to the blog? We reserve the right to forego publishing any article. If we have questions about the content of an article, we will contact the writer to discuss it.

Can I use my article elsewhere? Certainly! And if you have articles previously published elsewhere that might fit into our format,  send ’em to us. Recycling is great not only for the environment but also for writers.

Who’s in charge of the blog?  John Gascoyne, Bear Jack Gebhardt, and Gary Kimsey. Every writer is encouraged—as she or he may want—to take a leadership role in editing, distribution, management, and the other aspects of the project.

How do I submit my post? Email it to garykimsey@yahoo.com. Please include your short bio and photo with your first post.

Whom do I contact to say I’m interested?  Contact John Gascoyne (jpgascoyne@gmail.com), Bear Jack Gebhardt (bear@frii.com) or Gary Kimsey (garykimsey@yahoo.com) by email. Or call Gary at (970) 689-2512.

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