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The Doe is a digital publication sharing anonymous narratives to promote civil discourse.

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Writing Personal Narratives for The Doe

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| September 30, 2021

Here’s a detailed guide to getting published on The Doe—from conceiving an idea, to writing a pitch, to composing your narrative.

Everything you need to know, and more.

So, you’re interested in writing for The Doe? Great! But first, let’s take care of some basics and show you what we’re all about. The Doe is a digital publication sharing anonymous, verified personal narratives to promote civil discourse. We are the place for people of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs to share personal experiences, blow whistles and spark meaningful conversation.

The Doe will never confirm or deny your identity on our platforms, even if you choose to come forward with your story later. Publishing anonymously gives contributors a safe place to share important stories and removes external factors that might influence how a reader feels about the narrative. No preconceived notions or bias; just honest, unfiltered experiences. For so many, writing under the veil of anonymity is a cathartic and fulfilling experience and leads to better discourse!

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Narratives, Not Articles

The most important thing to note: We publish anonymous, first-person narratives. So, what is a personal narrative? They’re personal, verified nonfiction stories full of vivid anecdotes. One question to ask yourself: What experiences in my life have moved and impacted me, and how might they connect to a larger issue or moment happening in the world? Here are some sample narrative headlines to help paint the picture:

  • The Pressure of Black Excellence Was Bad for My Mental Health 
  • I Have Coronavirus Inside of California’s San Quentin Prison
  • I Grew Up in a Palestinian Refugee Camp
  • I Love Someone I’ve Never Met
  • Dropping Out of High School Saved My Life

The list of what we do not publish is longer and includes basically everything that isn’t a first-person narrative. We’re here for you to share personal experiences, memories and events, not:

  • Poems
  • Fiction
  • Comics
  • White papers
  • Academic papers
  • Traditional op-eds

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Writing Narratives (for The Doe) Has Its Perks

There are many perks to writing a narrative for The Doe. Let’s look at the four major benefits that directly relate to you, the writer!

  1. Impact. When you share your narrative, you are raising awareness and even inspiring change. We have a large global readership that’s passionate about civil discourse, self-reflection and personal growth. Your narrative can have a positive ripple effect and start conversations about a topic or idea that might otherwise not have existed.
  2. Anonymity. Publishing anonymously gives contributors a safe place to share important stories. It also allows for greater truth and vulnerability, providing the latitude to chronicle events and details that might have been too risky and challenging to publish with a byline.
  3. Release. Many of our writers have said that they’ve been able to let go of heavy experiences and emotions by getting their story off their chest and sharing their narrative with others. Which is to say, writing for The Doe has often become a cathartic experience, allowing authors to work through a variety of emotions and find more clarity in the process.
  4. Compensation: Get paid fairly for your time and your truth. Our standard rate of $300 for an 800-1,400 word narrative is above the industry average, and we work hard to make sure payment comes on time so it’s never a worry.

How It Works

From pitching to payment, publishing your narrative with The Doe is a seamless process. Our attentive and experienced editorial team will guide you through each step and answer any questions you may have along the way. Please find a detailed breakdown below: 

3 Editorial Process

Editorial Guidelines

You won’t find traditional articles on The Doe. We only publish verified personal narratives, and we edit exclusively for length and clarity (spelling errors, grammar, general fact-checking, etc.). Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you as you begin writing up a pitch.

Do:

  • Send narratives directly from the source (you!).
  • Submit writing that's personal, sincere, unfiltered and full of real, vivid anecdotes.
  • Write with your raw, authentic voice.
  • Keep drafts between 800 and 1,400 words.
  • Read stories we’ve already published to get an idea of how to construct your narrative.

Don’t:

  • Pitch stories encouraging violence, harm or outing.
  • Submit poetry, traditional op-eds, fiction, longform or previously published work.
  • Share your identity or mention you’ve pitched an anonymous story on our social channels.

One thing to note: The Doe has themes (Food, Sex, Health) and curations (Insiders, LOL) that will help you angle and narrow down your pitches. By targeting different topics each month or week, we help writers focus their craft and, as a result, share a comprehensive variety of in-depth stories. Make sure to check out our wide range of topics, and look at our upcoming themes and curations to sharpen your ideas.

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How to Submit Your Pitch

You’ve got your pitch idea and you’re ready to submit to the editors for consideration. We offer two convenient ways to pitch your anonymous story. Submit your story pitch in just minutes using one of the methods below.

Option 1: Story Submission Form

Submit a short summary of your idea through our secure form, and we’ll get back to you within 14 days. You might want to use this form to get a quicker response and have a more streamlined writing process! 

Pitch Your Story

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Option 2: Keybase Encrypted Chat

If you’re looking for extra security, submit your pitch through Keybase. You should use Keybase if you’d prefer to keep your identity hidden from The Doe’s editors and/or are concerned about your job or safety when sending over more overt channels. 

Pitch via Keybase

Pitches should be brief (1-2 paragraphs) and should explain the basic nature of your narrative while answering these questions: 

  • What is the personal angle? 
  • What are you hoping to examine further in this piece? 
  • What is a sample headline that can distill your narrative to its essence?

Here’s a recent pitch we received that checks all of the boxes:

Watching trashy reality TV was the only way I coped with the death of a friend...

In late 2018, I lost a friend I was living with at a hostel in North Queensland, Australia. The experience was shattering, especially as most of my other friends moved on from the hostel shortly after. Thousands of miles away from my closest friends and family in London, I retreated into the world of reality TV as often as possible.

I want to write a piece about what it was like to experience the loss of a friend in my twenties and how the ridiculous personalities, neat storylines and schadenfreude effect of watching beautiful people make stupid mistakes quickly became the only way I could cope.

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What Writers Are Saying

You might be wondering what past writers have said about their experience publishing a narrative on The Doe. Here are just a few testimonials that should give you an idea of what to expect:

“Incredibly liberating. Not only did I get to share my narrative, but I was able to do so in a safe space that respected my privacy.” -Quinn Pro Quo

“Brilliant editors. Clear communication. Swift compensation. Thank you for the opportunity. *insert praying hands emoji* “-Professor McIntosh III, Esq.

“Super seamless. Felt like the future of publication.” -LifeHere

“A wonderful platform with a sophisticated and attentive editorial staff devoted to telling brave and anonymous stories.” -Oswald Tinkleberry

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Get Inspired

If you need some examples to get your mind working in the right direction, explore some of these narratives that exemplify what The Doe is all about: strong points of view and vivid anecdotes. Take a read to get a better sense of our style.

Still have questions? Email us at editors@thedoe.com

So, that’s it. We want your brief, punchy pitches. We want your first-person narratives. We want vivid anecdotes and unique yarns. Most importantly, we want your authentic self to feel comfortable writing for a publication that takes your anonymity seriously!

As you ponder your next great idea for us, make sure to subscribe to our social channels and to our blog newsletter. And if you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend!

We can’t wait to read you on our site!

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