If you have read through our recruitment pitch and would like to submit an article to Musings on Life and Love, please read through the following guidelines carefully:
The goal of Musings is to encourage communication between people of all different backgrounds. We are not a self-help guide. We are not here to tell people how to improve themselves. We are here simply to share our experiences and perspectives, letting our audience decide for themselves what to do with this information.
Do you have any stories that might help people gain insight into their own lives? If you do, please share them! Just remember to stick to the two rules, explained in detail below:
- Every article should have a lesson to be learned (humor articles being the potential exception). Keep in mind that people will be more receptive if you teach by sharing personal experiences and the lessons you learned, rather than lecturing from a soapbox and telling others what they should be learning.
- No insults or blanket bashing of a gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other type of group. The point of the site is to learn from each other, not engage in a bitch-fest. If you’re going to poke fun, poke fun at individual people or specific behaviors, not at an entire group of people.
The “voice” of Musings on Life and Love
In keeping with our mission, we use a certain “voice” in our articles:
Use the first-person whenever possible (“I,” “we,” “me,” “us”). Remember, our goal is to share the lessons we learned, not to lecture others on what they should be learning.
It’s okay to use the second-person once in a while (“you”), but if you find yourself using that voice frequently, you’re probably doing too much lecturing and not enough sharing. For example, note the difference between the following two statements:
- “This happened, and this is what I learned. Maybe you can relate and learn something, too.”
- “This happened, this is what you should learn from it, and this is what you need to do.”
Statement 1 is what we strive for at Musings on Life and Love.
Also, avoid speaking in absolutes. It can make the difference between being provocative and being prejudiced. Again, note the difference between the following two statements:
- “This man was selfish/rude/etc. because he….”
- “All men are selfish/rude/etc. because they….”
The first one: provocative and insightful (hopefully). The second one: self-righteous and catty.
A simple template
Sometimes, you may have a good lesson that you want to share, but you’re just not sure how to tell the story. So, here’s a formula that we often use:
- First, what is the lesson of the story? You should be able to sum this up in one sentence, two at the most. As you write, make sure you always have the lesson in mind.
- Start with an anecdote to draw people in. Use the Carrie Bradshaw technique if you want, and open with a question that got you thinking about the whole subject matter (for example, “I was wondering why people want to be friends after breaking up?”). Or, use a simple introduction: what are you about to tell us?
- Tell a story that illustrates the lesson. If your story has a compelling enough opening, you might even be able to get away with skipping Step 2.
- Reflect on said story. What did you learn from the experience? This is where you mention the lesson from Step 1.
- Wrap it up in a nice neat little conclusion. End with a witty remark if you can.
- Go back and reread the piece. Take out any lines that don’t directly support the lesson.
- Add in any jokes if you’d like. I recommend doing this last, because the content of the article is always going to be more important than the jokes.
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Of course, you are under no obligation to stick to this formula. I just thought I’d throw it out there in case it helps.
If you’d like to get an idea of what works and doesn’t work for the internet, here are two sample articles that have been published at Musings:
- The original draft for “Why Can’t Men Learn To Read Women’s Minds?” And the final product.
- The original draft for “How I Played A Player.” And the final product.
These will also give you an idea of the coaching and revision process that goes on here.
One final suggestion
Please do not submit an article to Musings under the assumption that it will be published as is. In fact, no article published at Musings has ever gone through without numerous edits and revisions. We take pride in our craft, and we believe that any story worth telling is worth telling well.
If you have a story idea that you’d like to pitch, please contact me (Dennis) at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!