How to write successfully for TOS
So you´re thinking about submitting an article for publication in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine? That´s wonderful news! We are always looking for excellent content for our magazine—articles that will inform, inspire, and encourage homeschoolers worldwide. You might just be one of the authors we´ve been looking for!
How can you write successfully for TOS? Here´s one formula for success: Determine your Delight, and then Direct others with Diligence, Decisiveness, and Discretion.
We encourage you to apply our formula—and then get busy writing that article we´ve been waiting for!
Determine Your DelightWhether you´re a homeschooling parent yourself, someone who observes and supports homeschoolers, or someone who has a great product or idea to offer to homeschoolers, your article should reflect a topic you´re passionate about, a topic that is dear to your heart.
Take a look at the themes we´ll feature in future issues (found on the “Writer´s Guidelines” page). As you read that list, does the mention of any one of them, or more than one of them, make your heart leap? Does it remind you of an experience you´ve had that could be shared with others to encourage or inform them? Are any of those subject areas ones in which you´ve had particular success—or failures? If so, would it give you delight to share your successes and/or failures with others, in the hopes of equipping them to succeed?
Writers for TOS should have purpose beyond “writing a nice story” or “documenting an experience.” Ultimately, your goal should be to bring glory to God.
How can you use the skills and expertise and insights God has given you to serve others? Reflect briefly on your unique qualifications to write about . . . what?
If you have information that can be useful to others—information that will help them succeed as they educate their children and prepare them to be servants of God—we want to hear it!
Direct OthersThe opportunity to teach others, including the opportunity to reach others through articles published in our magazine, must be taken seriously. It is a grave responsibility, and God will hold you accountable for the message you proclaim. James 3:1 says, “Not many [of you] should become teachers (self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].” (Amplified Bible)
It is also a delightful privilege to serve others by teaching them, guiding them, and encouraging them. The Bible instructs us, in Hebrews 10:24, to “consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.” (Amplified Bible)
How can you “stir up” other homeschoolers “to love and helpful deeds and noble activities”? The potential is unlimited. Determine your delight, and then direct others through your expertise, experience, and insights.
Within our list of future themes, if you don´t see a subject that inspires you—don´t stop there. Although we do have broad topics that we cover regularly, we want to hear your ideas. Inspire us—what do you think our readers need and/or want to read? If you don´t have a particular area of expertise to share about, are there some experts you can interview to enlighten us or introduce us to new products, new success stories, or some new “nuts and bolts” of homeschooling?
Determine your delight, but also discern what will delight our readers. We want to see your contribution—if it will help us fulfill our mission: to produce a high-quality, Biblically based magazine, a resource that will strengthen, support, and challenge the family both spiritually and academically as they impact their world for Christ.
With DiligenceOnce God has put in your heart a desire to write about a particular theme, keep moving forward. Be diligent.
With DecisivenessDeuteronomy 5:32 says, “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Once you have determined your path, stick to it.
Don´t let yourself be distracted—turned to the right hand or to the left—or discouraged by any obstacles that appear, and obstacles will appear. Be determined to direct others with excellence. If God has called you to this task, He has sufficient grace for you to complete it. In His strength, you can succeed.
With DiscretionUse wisdom as you organize, research, and write your article. Discretion is defined as “the trait of judging wisely and objectively” and “wise conduct and management; cautious discernment.” Write with discretion.
Don´t say more than necessary to convey your message thoroughly, but on the other hand, make sure you say enough. Invite friends and family members to review your work and give helpful feedback; make sure your words serve you well.
Write with purpose. Find out what TOS subscribers esteem most highly. Go to your local library and read some back issues of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Visit a nearby bookstore and purchase a copy of the current issue and review it thoroughly. Talk to your homeschooling friends to find out which information has been most appreciated.
The Next StepWhat´s the next step?
On your mark, get set . . . go!
And may the Lord bless the work of your hands. We look forward to seeing what you have to offer to us!