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.

Current Openings:

Fruits of the Spirit (due September 25): Our life overseas can open up so many parts of our lives to the Father’s refining (just like life in our passport country can). Is there a particular fruit of the Spirit He has been developing in you lately? Do you have a story of how God has pointed out a particular fruit that needed His work?

Passport Cultures (due October 2): Our community is made up of such a gloriously diverse group of women, and we want to honor that! This week we want to hear from the women who are not from the US, but from other parts of the world who are finding their place in the VA community. What are the beautiful ways you have seen diversity in your team setting or with other expats where you live? What do you love about your passport country, and what are the ways your passport country needs the Father’s transformation? 

Poverty (due October 9): Poverty can be such a difficult issue to face head-on while serving overseas. How have you responded to issues of poverty in your setting? Is this the same or different from the way the local people respond to poverty issues? What are some insights you have gained about how to have boundaries but keep a soft heart when responding to the poverty in your host country? What are important issues that need to be discussed?

Telling Their Story (due October 16): In many ways, we have the opportunity to be a spokesperson for the peoples we live among. We can bring awareness to their needs, share their stories and encourage others to pray for them. But we also have a responsibility to tell those stories well. What does ethical storytelling look like? How have you wrestled with this issue? Are there stories you are hesitant to tell? 

The Veteran (due October 23): We are so thankful for the men and women who have gone before us, who’ve been on the field for decades or filled us with inspiration to keep going ourselves. We want to feature posts this week from those veteran workers as we honor them and continue to learn from their wisdom. But if you don’t consider yourself a veteran, what is one question you would love to ask them? How would you like to thank them for their service, for the doors they have opened for you?

Love Your Neighbor (due October 30): As we get ready for the holiday season, many of us will have more opportunities to reach out and connect with our neighbors. Share your stories of ways you’ve made connections with your neighbors! Was it easy because they wanted to get to know you? Or did it take longer and require creativity? Are there special ways you seek out your neighbors during the holidays? 

Letters from Home (due November 20): Not only is it hard for us as we are away during the holidays, but our parents, grandparents, siblings and other extended family also sacrifice during this season. This week we want to hear their perspective, their stories. We know that even in the community of women who follow our blog there are those who have a daughter or sister on the field, and they want to better understand what their family member is feeling. We want to do the same for them, and find ways to love our family back home well during the holidays.

Regional Traditions/Blessings (due November 27): Our previous themes might stir up great nostalgia or homesickness and that’s okay. But we can’t forget to be thankful for what we have right where we are! Does your host culture celebrate Advent/Christmas? What are some fun ways you have been able to join in with those local traditions and festivities? If they don’t or it is very different, how have you dealt with the differences? What are you grateful for about the ways your host country celebrates during the holidays?

Team Traditions/Blessings (due December 4): Our teams can be diverse which can make holiday celebrations fun and creative and interesting! What ideas do you have for creating family atmosphere among teams during the holidays? What are the blessings of serving on team during this season? 

The Gift (due December 11): We come to the reason we celebrate the Christmas season- Jesus. As you think about the previous themes related to being far from home, finding ways to reach out to others and have fun with local traditions and teammates, how do you keep Jesus at the center of it all?

Party (due December 18): It’s a party and you are invited! What are you celebrating as you close out 2019? What do New Year’s celebrations look like where you are living?

Prompts are updated quarterly. 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.

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept submissions unrelated to our upcoming themes.

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