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. 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. 

Our View from Here: Global (due June 25) At the start of the pandemic we had the mindset, “We’re in this together.” But now the experiences we are having are vastly different depending on where we are. Some parts of the world are free and open. Others are slowly coming out of yet another lockdown. Some are still in the midst of heartbreaking circumstances. We want to create space in the month of July to process together. What is your experience as you open up social media and see posts from places in a really different situation from you? How do you have conversations with friends and family back in your passport country who might not understand what you’ve gone through? We don’t want to brag or condemn or judge. But what’s the view like from where you are? 

Our View from Here: Local (due July 2) Disparity of classes and the privilege we often experience as expats have been highlighted for many of us in the last year. What questions have you wrestled with as you have walked through the pandemic with local friends and partners? What ways have you seen the unique culture you live in shine in the midst of hard circumstances? What is a gift you have seen or received? As we share stories from our local cultures, let’s do so with dignity and respect. If you share a story about a particular person, please make sure you ask their permission first! 

Naming (due July 9) There is something so important about naming—giving voice and recognition to grief or joy or disappointment. What needs to be named in your experience of the last year? Is there a joy that you haven’t felt sure about sharing in the midst of so much heartache? A new sense of family unity, a ministry opportunity that opened up? What losses need to be acknowledged? It might be that you have grieved a loved one’s death from afar, or need to name the loss of things like celebrations, freedom, or knowing how to navigate crowds. 

Check-in (due July 16) So. How are you doing? Really doing? Are you angry? Annoyed? Sad? Overwhelmed? Hopeful? Are there questions that you can share with the community that help you process and reflect? Let’s leave space for one another as we check in. No pat answers allowed—we really do want to know! 

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 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