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:

Welcome to the Field (due July 29): What do you wish someone would have told you before you moved overseas? If you could go back now and have a little chat with yourself when you first arrived, what would you say? If you are new to the field yourself, share with your stories of those initial days of settling in and what you are learning. 

Welcome to Culture Shock (due August 5): No matter where we move to, there will be some form of culture shock. What advice would you give for walking through culture shock with a family, or as a single? Share your stories of hope for those who are in the throes of culture shock. 

Welcome to Team (due August 12): Team can be beautiful and messy, a lifeline for our cross-cultural work and one of the greatest sources of conflict. What have been your experiences working with a team? What tips do you have for working through conflict, building relationships and fostering community within a team?

Opposites (due September 15):  Even little things can feel big when they are opposite! What fun things are opposite in the place where you live? What differences in the culture actually are completely frustrating or draining to you? What have you learned as you have had to let go of or adjust expectations? 

Dance (due September 22): Tell us your stories of learning cultural dances! What role does dance have in the places you are serving? We can also dance around tough issues, wade through a back and forth between teammates or our families back home. What challenges have you struggled with related to dances in relationships? 

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