8 ways to write a rather good Offbeat Home post

June 14 2011 |

We've been getting tons of high-caliber submissions (YAY!), but a few people have asked for more direct tips on how to write the perfect Offbeat Home article.

To this we say: yes. Although we have some general guidance on our submission page, we have more tips. So many tips!

How to write a post we'll bump up to the top of the Home submissions queue

  • Start with a thesis statement. You know, those things that plagued you in high school Lit class? Your thesis doesn't have to be stated, but all your bits should relate back to it. When I'm rambling in a post, I usually don't have a central idea. If you're stumped on a thesis, try these on for size: "I live an interesting life because _____, let me tell you about it!", "I had a problem with _____. It was funny/sad/scary and this is how we solved it/what I learned/how it changed me." "Thinking about living like _____? Here's what you should know/I wish I'd known."
  • Spill your guts!. Overexplain to me and don't worry about rambling. The more words I have to work with, the better. Assume that the reader knows nothing. And each post goes through three edits before going live — we have three people working on each post! It'll be great.

  • Get personal! People WANT to learn about you! Get as personal as feels comfortable. What trials and tribulations did you go through? What was the most awesome part? What inside jokes sprang from this experience/project/philosophical shift? If a post isn't personal, it reads less like offbeat and more like linkbait.
  • Make it timely. Some topics can have posts all year round — a before/after of your linen closet probably reads the same in December as it would in July. Other posts, however, are best posted at appropriate times: gardening posts, outdoor party posts, stuff like that. And sometimes you can gear a post toward a holiday to really amp up its relevance: "10 Ways to Make Pagans Feel Welcome at Christmas."
  • Avoid duplication. Not infrequently, we'll run a post on one topic, and immediately get a submission about the exact same topic. This is unfortunate, because if we just posted about a subject, chances are that we're not going to want to run another story on the same topic for a while… which means your post either gets put on ice for a couple months, or declined. Feel free to email me and say, "Hey Cat! I'm thinking of submitting a post about building a new home in the fuselage of a decommissioned airplane. Is that something that you'd be interested in running right now?"
  • We love syndicating posts! If you posted about an awesome project on your blog last week, last month, or even last year, we might be interested in re-running that post here. We love original writing made especially for us, but we also love sharing your existing writing with the world.

Offbeat Home is supposed to feel like a conversation, and your voices are how we make that happen. We LOVE reading your posts — please oh please keep sending 'em!

Any questions I didn't answer?

    • Funny you should ask: when Cat pitched this story, I immediately emailed Stephanie and Megan and asked them to write similar posts for their sites. Watch for 'em in coming weeks!

      In the meantime, the submissions page of Offbeat Mama has a LOT of info: http://offbeatmama.com/join/submissions

  1. Thanks for this!

    I've got about 5 ideas for posts that I've never actually gotten around to submitting (or in one case re-submitting in improved form) partially because I'm irrationally convinced they'll come out terrible.

    Tips on submissions are great and the fact that none of them are hard to follow is very reassuring!

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