Write for Shine
Oh, hey there. 👋
Welcome to Shine’s submission guidelines. We’re pumped you want to write for us. Here, we’ll dig into what makes a good Shine story, how you can submit your pieces, all about that $, and more. Let’s do this.
What’s the whole point of Shine?
Shine’s mission is to make self-care more accessible—less preachy, more relatable; less “be your best self,” more recognize you’re already worthy; less “overhaul your life,” more “start with one of these small changes to help you grow.” We want readers to feel less alone in their struggles, more accepting of themselves, and more capable as they move forward.
What makes a good Shine story?
●︎ It’s relatable (via personal examples/imagined examples)
●︎ Vulnerable (via personal narrative)
●︎ Fresh (via new tactics and unique perspectives on evergreen ideas)
●︎ Trustworthy (via research-backed nuggets)
●︎ Easy to understand and put into action ASAP (via structure and tips)
What kind of things do you talk about on Shine?
All the things—but also not all the things. Posts should cover one or some of these topics: confidence, mental health, productivity, happiness, work, fulfillment, motivation, self-care, mindfulness, personal growth, or more niche health issues/situations as discussed.
What kind of stories are you looking for?
●︎ Surprising solutions: There are so many tried-and-true wellness hacks—but how can we surprise our readers with something new? For example: Taking a break > turning to cat memes to help curb brain drain. We want to offer the reader a modern approach to age-old challenges.
●︎ Punchy reminders: We’re not here for empty platitudes (ex. ‘You’re exactly where you need to be’ or ‘good vibes only’), but we are here for affirmations that feel fresh and are presented in a punchy way, like 13 Things That Don’t Determine Your Worth.
●︎ Current events & pop culture through the lens of self-care: The emotional toll of family separation at the border, Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u next’ as a self-care anthem—whatever it may be, analyzing pop culture and politics through the lens of self-care and emotional health is always interesting to us.
●︎ New tactics based on recent studies: We’re always keeping an eye out for the latest research news around all things psychology, productivity, social science, and more. We want to keep our readers informed about fresh research and how it has a place in their own lives, and we’re looking for stories that do just that. One example: Science-backed ways to improve your self-talk.
●︎ Contrarian takes on mainstream self-care: Self-care is supposed to make us feel good—but sometimes it just doesn’t. Things that lean into the nuances of what self-care really looks like IRL—messy, not always “good vibes only,” and so much more—are just some of the things that catch our eye.
●︎ I Tried Its: Have you ever embarked on a week-long adventure trying to implement something in your own life? We want to hear about it! Whether it’s a time-management practice or a journaling experiment, we’re down to show our readers what exactly it was like trying a new technique.
●︎ Dispatches from therapy & coffee chats: Our therapists and friends have a way of summarizing a lot of our feels into beautiful, understandable nuggets of wisdom. Tell us about that statement your therapist made that you still think about—or that epiphany you got to with the help of your partner or BFF.
Okay, but what should these stories look like?
Great question. Short answer: They can look like…anything. Long answer: We’re looking for personal essays, informational pieces with new tactics broken out as headers (with some personal anecdotes sprinkled in), informational lists that break down how to deal with X (maybe it’s an emotion, a challenge, or a specific situation). But we’re also open to other story format ideas (photo essay, anyone?) and would love to hear what you’ve got!
As far as word length goes, the sweet spot we’ve seen work is 750 words, but we can work with a minimum of 700 words and maximum of 1250.
What are things I should keep in mind when I’m writing for Shine:
●︎ Can someone do something immediately actionable after reading this?
●︎ Am I offering something new or insightful that doesn’t already live on the Interwebs?
●︎ Is it accessible—meaning someone doesn’t have to drop serious coin to do what I'm recommending?
●︎ Is this credible? For stories that aren’t personal essays, we’ll be looking for a research nugget or fact from a credible outside source to reinforce your piece.
●︎ Does it fit in the Shine voice? (Think of the advice you’d get from your best friend’s big sister: It’s empowering, shows instead of tells with real-world examples, is smart but conversational, and leads with how you’re feeling first. Oh, and sometimes makes you LOL.)
●︎ Has this been published before? We’re looking for pieces that haven’t been published elsewhere!
How do Shine stories become Shine Texts?
Every weekday, we highlight one story with Shine members in the form of a daily text message. That’s 3 million eyeballs on your work!
The stories that make it to the masses via text message all have a nugget that makes it Shine Text-worthy. They’re all actionable things that readers can walk away with and implement in their days ASAP. Most people read our message in the morning, so we also want to make sure it's not too negative and feels like a good way to start the day.
Who’s the Shine audience?
Our audience is 90% millennial women, but we don’t write in an overtly women-only way—we’re inclusive of all gender identities and experiences. You can learn more about what our audience is looking for in 2019 specifically in our first-ever white paper, the Hustle & Heart Report.
So where does money fit into all of this?
Don’t worry—we pay! Our rates depend on any given piece, so we’ll chat through that part before publishing a piece.
How do I get started?
You’re already on your way if you’ve made it down here! If you’re interested in writing for us: Email Martha, our content strategist, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
●︎ Subject line: Shine Pitch
●︎ 2-3 sentences describing your story and why it’ll matter to Shine users
●︎ An attached draft of your story: This can be rough, but should give us a sense of your story outline and what it’ll touch on. Please include a potential headline!
●︎ An author bio (example at the bottom of this article!)
●︎ A high-res headshot
Any other Qs? Slide into our email inbox. We’re psyched to read your work. 🙌
P.s. If you want to Shine from 9-5—we’re hiring! Head here to check out our openings.