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Guidelines For Writers

How do I submit a blog post?

Submitting a post is easy—just email it to SADSblog@sads.org. But before you submit it, please read the rest of the guidelines below.

How long does my blog post have to be?

There is no length requirement—your posts can be whatever length you want them to be. Short posts are just as effective as long ones.

Can I submit more than one blog post?

Yes! As you write, you might realize you have a lot to say. That’s great! Your first post could be an introduction, or it could focus on a specific topic. Then, you can write other posts about different topics or experiences. We love repeat contributors!

Do I have to use my real name?

It’s up to you. Many writers do use their real names, but others write under pseudonyms. This also applies to writing about family members, such as young children—you can use real names, initials, or made-up names. Use whatever names you feel comfortable with.

Should I include a photo?

Photos aren’t required, but we highly encourage you to submit one. Putting a face with the story can help bring it to life. If you’re not comfortable sharing a picture of you or your family, you’re welcome to share a different picture that represents you and your story, such as your garden, your feet in the sand, a heart-shaped necklace, your golf clubs, your hiking boots, etc. Of course, it’s helpful if the image is related to the story!

Should I include my doctor’s name?

That’s up to you. You’re welcome to mention your doctor by name, but it’s not required. You can also use an initial (Dr. B, Dr. K), which can help provide clarity when talking about experiences with different doctors.

What if I have a story to tell, but I’m afraid it’s too scary or sad for this blog?

We love submissions that are positive, hopeful, and encouraging. But the sad or scary stories are important, and they deserve to be told. Grief, mental health issues, disappointments, and traumatic medical experiences are often part our our reality as families affected by SADS conditions. Hearing about how others have dealt with pain or loss can help those who are going through similar situations. You might find that it’s helpful to write after the most painful part has passed, rather than when you are in the midst of the struggle, so you can look back at your experience in the context of the big picture. 

Don’t hesitate to tell the difficult stories. If you’re not sure how to approach a certain topic, please reach out to us. We’ll do our best to help you.

What if I want to share my story, but I don’t feel comfortable writing a blog post?

You don’t have to be the world’s best writer to tell your story. We’d love to hear from you directly! We even have a list of writing prompts to inspire you. But if you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of writing, we have a few options for you.

  1. Share your story in the SADS Spotlight. All you have to do is answer a few short questions
  2. Get help with the writing process—one of our volunteers will coach you through it.
  3. Let us tell your story. One of our volunteers will interview you and write a story about you. Of course, you’ll be able to review the story before publication.

You can contact us to talk about your options at SADSblog@sads.org.

Are there any topics I should avoid writing about?  

We’re glad you asked! Here are a few topics it’s best to stay away from. If you have questions, please reach out to us.

  1. Don’t write anything you aren’t comfortable sharing with the public at large. This means different things to different people, so write based on what it means to you.
  2. Don’t delve too deeply into highly controversial topics, such as politics, religion, etc. Those topics may be part of your story, and it’s absolutely OK to discuss them in the context of your experience as a patient. For example, maybe your faith helps you cope with your diagnosis, or maybe healthcare legislation has profoundly affected your family. But please remember that our audience is a diverse group of people, and the purpose of the blog is to focus on SADS conditions. Use your best judgment, and feel free to reach out to us for assistance.
  3. Don’t send us stories on unrelated topics. While we are looking for a broad range of submissions, they should all be related to SADS conditions in some way. A political opinion piece, a tutorial on knitting, or a promotion of your business is probably best shared elsewhere.

I want to write, but I’m not sure what to write about. Where do I begin?

Everyone has a unique story to tell, and we’d love to hear yours. If you’re not sure what to write about, we have a list of writing prompts you can use for inspiration (see below). You’re not limited to the topics on the list—they’re just there to help you if you need them. 

WRITING PROMPTS

Want to share your story, but not sure what to write about? Use these writing prompts as inspiration. Of course, you’re welcome to write about other topics, too!

Tell your diagnosis story. Describe the events and emotions surrounding your diagnosis.

Share a challenge you overcame related to your medical condition. Who helped you through it? What did you learn about yourself? What advice would you give others in a similar situation?

Share your experience from attending the SADS conference. What was your favorite part? What did you learn?

If you’re participating in a research study or a clinical trial, tell others what it’s like. How did you get involved? Who is it for? What made you choose to participate? How’s it going for you?

Think about your life before and after your diagnosis. Has your diagnosis, or the diagnosis of a family member, prompted you to make any major life changes? Have you learned any new skills as a result? What has the change meant for you?

If you’ve done a fundraiser or held an awareness event, share your success! What gave you the idea? How did you go about planning the event? What did you accomplish? What advice would you give to others who want to do something similar?

Write about your daily life. To you, it might seem boring, but to someone who has just been diagnosed, a story about living a full life with a SADS condition could be really encouraging.

Write about what you wish people understood about living with your diagnosis.

Make a list! For example, you could share 5 ways your condition has made you stronger, 10 strategies for living well with SADS, 4 ways to remember to take your beta blocker, etc.

TIPS FOR WRITING

Stay focused. It’s helpful to pick a certain aspect of your story to focus on. If you find yourself branching out in several directions, consider writing a few short pieces instead of one long piece. And remember, you don’t have to share every detail—finding a focus can help you decide which details to include and which to leave out.

Be yourself. Your blog post doesn’t have to sound like anyone else’s. Write in your unique voice, and be confident in it!

Ask for help. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to us at SADSblog@sads.org. Whether you have a question about our guidelines, feel stuck in the middle of your story, or are struggling with the right terminology, we’re happy to help.