Submit Your Story

The Seattle Public Library, captured on Kodak Portra 400 film

I adore sharing my own story in these pages. But hearing from you expands and deepens our collective understanding of what embracing uncertainty looks like.

On occasion, I’ll share guest posts from readers whose plans went sideways, as part of an ongoing series called Change Of Plans.

✳️ What’s a Change Of Plans story?

If you felt certain about your plans until something turned the future into a question mark, that’s the story I’m looking for. I want to know how you learned to embrace the resulting uncertainty.

There are so many ways that our plans can fracture. Something might happen to us, or we decide to make a big move ourselves. The change could mark a joyful or a heartbreaking occasion. It might represent a dramatic shift, or a small but profound one. The experience could touch on your health, career, finances, education, relationships, or something else entirely.

The wider the range of story submissions, and the more diverse the mix of perspectives, the better!

✳️ Who can submit a story?

Anyone at all! You don’t need your own Substack or blog (though if you do, I’ll include a link and description in my introduction to your piece).

You don’t need to have published your writing before, either—though a writing sample is helpful in that case. Clear thinking is a good predictor of compelling writing, so if you have a clear sense of the story you want to tell, I believe you can write it.

✳️ What’s the first step?

Before you begin writing your submission, pitch it here:

Pitch your Change Of Plans story

I’ll respond within a week; if it’s a “yes,” I’ll give you more details about the next steps, including timing and deadlines.

Accepting your pitch isn’t a guarantee that the resulting story will be featured. But if it doesn’t meet the guidelines below, or isn’t yet in publishable form, I’ll give you clear feedback and a chance to make revisions.

If your writing is clear and compelling but I don’t accept your pitch, the most likely reason is either lack of space, or that other scheduled essays cover similar themes.

✳️ What are the story guidelines?

The format is totally up to you; get as creative as you’d like.

Stories will be limited to 1,500 words. That said: punchy, memorable writing is often shorter!

I love including voiceovers and photographs to help tell my own stories, and I invite you to do so, too. (And, fair warning, I’ll ask for a photo of you to feature as well.)

Below is a series of writing prompts. No need to address every question! You can answer some explicitly in Q&A format, or answer them implicitly instead.

  • Describe what your future plans looked like in the “before times.”

  • What exactly did your change-of-plans moment look like?

  • How did you feel in the immediate aftermath of that moment?

  • What was the most surprising or unexpected thing you learned about moving into an uncertain future?

  • What helped you navigate this transition?

  • We talk about the role of self-advocacy, mindset, interdependence, and creativity a lot here. How did those show up for you?

  • How did you find joy—or how did joy find you—after your change of plans?

  • How do you think about planning and uncertainty differently than before?

  • What hope can you offer others about their ability to navigate uncertainty?

And here are some writing guidelines:

  • Prioritize going narrow and deep in your writing, rather than broad and shallow.

  • Drop us into specific moments and details from your experience, so we can picture ourselves in your shoes.

  • Don’t worry about being “relatable”—you can relay universal lessons even if your story is unique. But do include those lessons in your story.

✳️ Know someone with a Change Of Plans story?

I’d be grateful if you shared this opportunity with them!


I’m excited to hear from you. Happy writing! ✨