Submission Guidelines

Thanks for wanting to share your story and creativity with Velvet Ashes!

We are a community of women living and serving abroad–and we would love for you to offer your words here. We’ll be richer for hearing from you.

We believe truth and hope are best shared through story. And the power of story lies in authentic vulnerability fueled by love. As you prepare a post for Velvet Ashes you may want to read What is Velvet Ashes, We are Women Who, and Responsible, Ethical Storytelling. Poke around to get a sense for what this community is all about.

Each week we have a word prompt or theme that serves to center our stories.

At this time we do not have any submission openings. Prompts for 2020 coming soon!

Prompts are updated quarterly, so check back soon. The questions and suggestions following each prompt are merely ideas to get you going. Feel free to take your own unique angle on the prompt.

Sacrifice (due January 15): There are sacrifices required in this global life, so many sometimes that it can leave us feeling barren or bitter. How have you navigated the sacrifices? Is there a story of one that you could share with us?

Exodus (due January 22): Part of this overseas life involves leaving. Sometimes we go voluntarily, but other times circumstances outside our control force our departure. This can be so painful. Does your story resonate with that of the Israelites and Moses as they left for the Promised Land, and wandered in the desert? Feel free to share your story and relate it back to the book of Exodus and life or experience of Moses.

Burnout (due January 29): We want to acknowledge the pain of burnout, speaking honestly and vulnerably but also gently about this topic. Have you walked through a season of burnout? Did it require having to leave the field? Can you share some ways you have found healing and hope?

Safety (due February 5): Whether you are a single worried about safety while traveling alone, a mom of TCKs, or in a location with limited medical care, concerns about safety can be at the forefront of our minds. Even if we live in a safe place physically, there might be threats to our emotional or spiritual safety. What does this word stir up in you? How have you dealt with safety concerns?

Build Up (due February 26): It can be challenging sometimes to celebrate others, whether it is when their ministry is more fruitful, their situation seems easier, or a sister gets married or has a baby and that is what we long for. Yet, there’s room enough in the Kingdom for all of us. How do you intentionally build others up? How do you celebrate another person’s success, and when has that been especially challenging?

Hobbies (due March 4): It can be challenging to find or continue hobbies while serving cross-culturally! Do you have a humorous story of trying to find a hobby while living overseas? What has been the role of hobbies in your life? Have you given yourself the freedom to pursue a hobby or has that been a challenge?

Pleasures (due March 11): Sometimes we focus so much on the sacrifice required in our calling, and obviously this is important. But finding things that bring us pleasure can be such an important part of thriving in this global life! What brings you pleasure? How do you pursue those things in the midst of the stress and daily life? Has this helped you to thrive?

Surefooted (due March 18): Surefooted: walking steadily, moving freely, capable of finding good footing, confident. We circle back to the verses in Habbakuk as we wrap up this month. The writer says that “the Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights”. How has God given you confidence in your journey with Him? How has he strengthened you?

Your submission should:

  • Be in the neighborhood of 600-900 words.
  • Be submitted as a Word doc or docx only.
  • Include your name and the title of your post in the document itself as well as in the doc title (example: Sarah Doe – Post Title Here.doc). We do accept pseudonyms as required by context or location.
  • Be original content. We publish content that has not been published elsewhere, including personal blogs.
  • Be aware that essays for online publication need only one space after periods/full stops. This will save us loads of time in the editing process.
  • Conclude with a reflective question to invite conversation in the comments.
  • Include a headshot and personal bio. Headshots should be attached (not in the body of your submission) and no larger than 600 x 600 px. Bios should be 100 words or less, telling us a bit about you, but mostly drawing readers to feel a connection to you. Please include all your social media hyperlinks so that readers can connect with you and so we can tag you when we share your post.

Please send your submission to Laura at: submissions (at) velvetashes (dot) com

We do have limited spots available. If your essay is not chosen for publication, we happily encourage you to share it with our community by linking up at The Grove the week of that theme.

If selected for publication, posts may be edited for length and clarity. At this time, we do not offer compensation for published work.

We look forward to reading and prayerfully considering your piece. If you don’t hear from us immediately, please don’t be alarmed. We’ll be in touch!

Thank you for the gift of your story,

– The Velvet Ashes Team