Guidelines for Freelance Writers
Notice: We are primarily seeking stories related to COVID-19 at this time. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe you have lived through a unique and inspiring journey--or maybe you know someone who has.
Either way, if you have a story to tell and know how to work in a perfectly-placed alliteration, consider joining our network of freelance writers.
We welcome new writers to join us and bring in exceptional work to enrich our community. Our Life Logs® is an ongoing initiative; we accept submissions all year round. There are no restrictions to where you are or who you are.
NOTE: We sign a contract with each of our freelance writers to bind our relationship. If you are not yet a contracted freelance writer of Our Life Logs® and would like to be one, please send your resume and writing samples to email@example.com with subject line: Our Life Logs Freelance Writer, for consideration.
Our Life Logs features real stories of real people. You will need to seek and identify the people whose stories you want to write about, interview them, and then write the stories.
Currently we only accept stories in English. While you may conduct interviews in other languages (in situations where the interview subject doesn’t speak English), the written version of the story needs to be in English when it is submitted to us.
a. Preliminary Approval:
First identify the interview subject whose story you want to write about. After that, please make sure to send us a pitch of the story using the Submission Brief form for preliminary approval before you carry on. Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: Our Life Logs Submission Brief.
Please be aware that a preliminary approval does not guarantee a final approval of the story you will be submitting.
NOTE: The Submission Brief form will be shared with you when we sign the contract.
b. Interview, Write, and Submit Story:
Once the preliminary approval is obtained, please follow the steps in the diagram below for the interview, writing and submission process.
Please make sure to have the interview subject sign the Consent and Release Form before the interview starts. If there are restrictions or special requirements raised by the interview subject, those should be noted on the form before signing.
A copy of a photo ID of the interview subject should be obtained and provided with the signed Consent and Release Form.
NOTE: The Consent and Release Form will be shared with you after we sign the contract.
In general, we require that you audio record the interview process.
If you are writing a story about people you are very familiar with, an interview may not be necessary in that case, and therefore, no audio recording will be required.
The purpose of the photos is to accompany and enhance the story. It could be photos of the interview subject at different stages of his/her life, photos of a place he/she visited or lived, or even photos of an object that is meaningful to him/her. You can also choose to take photos of the interview subject at the time of interview itself. Other supporting materials are welcome too.
Completed stories should be sent via email to email@example.com with subject line: Our Life Logs Story Submission.
Each submission should include the following deliverables to be considered for publication:
The written article of the story
Photos taken at the interview or provided by the interview subject
The signed Consent and Release Form, accompanied by one of the following:
A copy of a government-issued ID of the story subject (driver’s license, passport, travel document, national ID card, etc.) *If the story subject wishes to hide/block part of their ID document out of privacy concerns, this is acceptable to our team.
- The audio recording of the interview with the storyteller *it is acceptable to submit a partial recording.
- Contact information (phone, email, etc.) of the story subject.
Our Life Logs is committed to sharing real life stories that are meaningful and soulful in hopes of touching human hearts and making a positive impact. In all work we do in producing the stories, we should follow these basic, overarching principles:
Be truthful – we need to stay truthful to the materials we collected and should not alter or distort any information provided to us by the interview subject
Be transparent – we need to be transparent with the interview subject about the interview process, how we are going to use the information collected from the interview, and what the final product of the story is.
Be open – we should keep an open mind toward any feedback and suggestions we may receive and be flexible in accommodating special requirements or restrictions raised by the interview subject.
Be understanding and respectful – we should continuously strive to capture the stories and perspective of our interview subjects in a respectful manner. Our purpose is not to editorialize within the stories or advocate particular points of view, philosophies, causes or positions. Our purpose is not to denigrate or judge. We believe that all human beings have dignity and our work should reflect that regardless of the circumstances or condition of any particular interview subject.
Be artful, clear and compelling – our articulation of the stories should be executed at extremely high levels. By that we mean that the story and its teller should be the star. Writing should be crisp and clear, not overdone–never stilted, stuffy or unnecessarily complicated.
Obey the law – we should on no occasion violate the law in our practice, especially be mindful in the areas of privacy and copyright infringement.
1. Types of Stories
We accept a great variety of topics. There is no restriction to the theme of the story. Any particular journey could be upward or downward; a story could be cheerful or sad. We want to capture different types of life stories, but at the root of each please make sure:
The story captures the life journey of a person over a long course of time, instead of just a specific event, incident or moment.
There are hopeful elements present somewhere in the story;
The story, through the storyline and its language style, is soulful with sentiments that can resonate emotionally with the audience on some level;
The story includes some sort of discovery, learning, enlightenment, redemption and/or reflective thoughts on life.
Stories with tension, contradictions, conflict, and journeys with ups and downs, are preferred.
Each article should have a title, the main body of the story, ended with a short bio of the interview subject.
For the main body the story, section dividers or section titles are recommended to divide the article into logical parts for a better reading experience.
3. Point of View
The main story should be written in first person with “I” being the interview subject.
At the end of the story, the short bio of the interview subject should be in third-person point of view. The name of the interview subject, if permitted by the interview subject, should be disclosed in this section.
4. Language Style
The basic principle for all our writings is, first of all, to avoid abusive, vulgar, offensive, racist, anti-social, threatening or harassing content.
On top of that, we need to make our writing as engaging, insightful and moving as possible. The language needs to be rich with “colors.”
Within our best practice, a story should be around 1,500-2,000 words. However, this can be flexible in certain cases depending on the type of story you are capturing.
6. Content Style Guide
Please refer to this link for Our Life Logs’ Content Style Guide. We expect our freelance writers to conform to our standard of clarity and formality as defined in the Guide.
Photos and Other Documents
Photos and documents that we use to accompany the story must be from one of the following sources:
Provided by the interview subject with consent for our use
Taken during or after the interview upon the interview subject’s consent
Stock photos either purchased or free for commercial use
Information available in the public domain
2. Types of Photos and Documents
The photos and documents should serve the purpose of enhancing the story. Each image used in proximity to certain texts should relate to, literally or figuratively, what is being described in the texts.
Images with nudity, violence, or other offensive attributes should not be used.
3. Image Quality
High quality images are preferred in all cases possible. The images should not be blurry or pixelated with low resolution. In certain cases when old photographs or documents are being used, we may not able to achieve this goal and we are flexible in those cases.
We believe your good hard work should be rewarded. We pay when we accept your submission for publication. The rate depends on your work quality and our relationship. This will be specified in the contract we sign with you.
We buy exclusive rights for your work, so if we have accepted your work and made the payment, you cannot sell it to another publication or use it for other purposes. We will thereon hold the copyright of your work.
Because our project is built on the backbone of uplifting, positive, and hopeful true-life stories, we ask that our freelance writers provide two forms of verification per story they share with us (that is not their own). These details are further explained during onboarding and in the "Submissions" section on this page. Additionally, if you are found to have submitted plagiarized or fraudulent stories, we will no longer accept submissions from you in order to protect the integrity of our project.