Over the five years I have served as editor of the Stoicism Today, we have published hundreds of guest posts in the blog, that is, posts contributed by authors who are not members of the Modern Stoicism Team. They have written about a vast range of topics – you can get some idea of this by scrolling through the Stoicism Today blog archive, or by using the search bar to look up a few keywords you’re interested in. And these authors also vary considerably in chosen format, authorial voice, and motivation for writing. We get, you might say, a little bit of everything.
The Stoicism Today blog – and its readership – has evolved over time, and so have the types and standards of guest-contributed posts that we’re looking for. It has been quite an experience for me to work as editor with hundreds of potential authors pitching pieces, developing their posts through reviews, suggestions, drafts, and then publishing their work in the blog. We’ve also had quite a few repeat guest post writers contributing solid content consistently (the author from the last week’s Stoicism Today post is a prime example), and the fact that authors want to keep on contributing strikes me as a sign of the vitality of the blog as a medium for excellent content on Stoicism.
In these interactions with authors over the years, I’ve found myself devoting a good bit of time to clarifying what sort of guest posts we were looking for, and making suggestions about how drafts could be expanded or revised into more solid and substantive pieces, so a few months ago, I sat down and worked up a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines for would-be guest post authors. You might have seen those guidelines already in the “Writing for Stoicism Today” (in the Stoicism Today tab on our site), but I’m going to provide them here as well.
So, if you’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a guest post – or if you hadn’t thought of it before, but now you’re interested – check out the guidelines below!
Saturday guest posts are typically between 1500-4000 words of content (i.e., not including title, author bio, and any notes). Posts can sometimes be longer, but almost never shorter. This word count has turned out to be the optimal range for offering our readers a substantive post that develops some ideas in solid engagement with Stoic philosophy and practices. If you submit a shorter draft, you will invariably receive suggestions on how you can expand it into a stronger piece more suitable for our readership.
Writers may pitch their ideas to the editor, Gregory Sadler by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. They may also send first drafts directly to him at the same email address. Frankly, most pitch ideas will get the response: “Sounds interesting! Send your draft when you have it ready.”
Drafts will be reviewed, and may be accepted as is, or suggestions for revisions, expansions, etc. may be made by the editor(s). Some posts go through several stages of revision before getting published. Guest posts submitted to the blog may be edited by Stoicism Today for grammar, spelling, style, readability before being published in their final form in the blog
When you send a draft, please make sure that it is “bare bones”, format-wise. That makes it much easier to copy and paste from one format to the next for editing. Bare bones means using minimal formatting (no weird fonts, indentations, centering, etc.), making section headings just the same font but in bold, etc. Submit drafts as MSWord documents, not in other formats like PDF, GoogleDoc, RTF, Pages, etc. (every word processor can convert to Word format)
We publish a wide range of content in Stoicism Today. All of it is in some significant ways connected to and informed by Stoic philosophy and practices. You don’t need to have a high level of expertise in Stoicism to write a great post, of interest to and helpful for our readers. But you must be engaging with something Stoicism-connected. Remember that you are writing for other people interested in Stoicism, and who have likely read quite a few other previous posts in Stoicism Today.
Some examples of the types of guest posts our readership appreciates, and that we publish are:
- Personal narratives of how they learned about, experimented with, succeeded or failed, and came to better understand Stoicism in practice.
- Key ideas or practices derived from classic Stoic thinkers or texts and their applications to present-day problems and circumstances.
- Discussions about historical or existing persons who could be viewed as Stoics, making a solid case for why that would be appropriate
- Examinations of controversial or difficult Stoic doctrines, providing explanations and clarifications useful for our readership.
- Comparative work examining connections between Stoic ideas, insights, and practices, and
- Engaging reviews of contemporary literature about Stoicism.
- Recent authors of books specifically on Stoicism discussing their work (may include short excerpts)
- Poetry that is explicitly connected with Stoicism, typically accompanied by an author’s explanation of their own poetry
It is strongly suggested that prospective authors read some of the posts in Stoicism Today before submitting a piece, so that they have a good understanding and appreciation for the range of work we publish.
We are not interested in the following types of posts:
- Paid or sponsored posts
- Posts that only tangentially engage or mention Stoicism
- Listicles (e.g., “10 fun facts about . . #6 will blow your mind!”
- Posts that are more self-promotion than engagement with Stoicism
On Saturday, May 15, 2021, the New York Times printed a guest column by Nancy Sherman entitled ‘What Pop Stoicism Misses About Philosophy’. Nancy Sherman is the author, most recently of ‘Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience” amd a professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. She begins by stating,”Modern Stoicism has become an industry. And a mega-industry at that.” Her theme is that being a good member of society, not self-improvement, is the goal. This seems like a good opportunity for a discussion. Can society improve if individuals do not improve themselves first by embracing philosophy, preferably stoicism ? And what is the average person’s responsibility in a world seemingly gone haywire?