Since 2019 I’ve been working with Reckon Women to elevate Southern women’s voices. Each week we publish an original personal essay by a woman with ties to the South in the Reckon Women Voices column on ReckonSouth.com. Many of the pieces are also featured in newspapers across the region and even throughout the country. (One recent piece landed in a newspaper in Syracuse, New York!)
If you’ve been wanting to submit a story for Reckon Women Voices but you’re not sure where to start, here are my top tips for writing your story. (If you’re not a Southern gal, you can still use these tips to write personal stories to pitch to other publications.)
Let’s talk about your BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS WRITING GOAL!
A BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOAL (or BHAG) is a concept developed in the book Built to Last. A BHAG is a goal that’s clear and compelling and once that requires building for the long term and creates a sense of urgency.
So what’s a big, hairy, audacious writing goal?
I think it’s that writing goal you have that’s so big it scares you. The one that’s so ambitious that you’re afraid to tell anyone about it because you think they’ll laugh at you. Or maybe when you think about the goal you laugh at yourself.
That was me less than 2 years ago. I secretly wanted to quit my teaching job to be a full-time freelance writer. I have other BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOALS and I knew that being a full-time freelance writer would give me the flexible schedule I needed to pursue them. But I was convinced that there was NO WAY I could make enough money to pay my bills and maintain a comfortable lifestyle on freelance writing income.
But guess what? I’ve done exactly that for over a year — in spite of cancer and in spite of a global pandemic that has rocked our economy.
There are three things that I think helped me achieve this goal.