Tips and Guidelines for Submitting Your Story

Down Home is made up of folks just like you and that’s why we want to take every opportunity to lift up your voice in our work. 

New to writing? Don’t be shy. We are here to help you get your words the way you want them. Our team is happy to offer feedback and light edits to make your voice as powerful as it was meant to be. 

Submitting to Reclaiming Rural

  • Reclaiming Rural stories can run anywhere from 500 to 1000 words
  • The best Reclaiming Rural stories are either written in the first person or are based on interviews with a friend
  • Your Reclaiming Rural story should be about country and small town identity and how that intersects with  political identity
  • Reclaiming Rural stories should challenge the idea that all people in the Rural South are white and conservative as a singular identity
  • The best Reclaiming Rural stories describe the small town or rural place in detail so readers really understand what it looks and feels like to live here
  • Our favorite Reclaiming Rural stories lift up and celebrate our communities, even when they are pushing back on or challenging things that might happen in them
  • The most powerful Reclaiming Rural stories focus on one issue (education, healthcare, overdose, identity, housing, etc) and offer a solution or recommendations for change
  • You should submit 2 or 3 photographs to go along with your story that show where you live and, if you want, photos of yourself in your community
  • You can submit a Reclaiming Rural story under a penname if desired
  • If you already write on Medium, you can write your story on your own Medium account and submit it to use using the “Submit to Publication” feature

Submitting to Speak Out on our blog

  • Submitting to Speak Out on our Down Home blog is a lot like writing at Letter to the Editor
  • Submissions should be around 250 to 750 words
  • Submissions should be on a current topic or issue in your local small town or rural community 
  • If you have more than one topic you would like to write about, consider writing separate blog posts for each
  • The best Speak Out columns have a call to action at the end: Either a specific ask for someone to get involved or a specific piece of legislation, campaign, or local ordinance you are asking for your reader to support
  • Our favorite Speak Out columns are personal– They aren’t gushy with personal details but mention why this issue matters to you on a personal level
  • The most convincing Speak Out columns also will provide context as to why people should listen to you. You don’t have to be an expert on a subject, but sharing how you are involved with or impacted by the issue builds confidence
  • We love for our writers to submit a photo of themselves as well as a 2 or 3 sentence bio so we can show you some love!