So you want to write for bella rae? YAY!

Not sure where to start? Not to worry, we have a couple of tips for you!

Start by asking yourself some questions

  • What is a challenge you’ve overcome?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What makes you unique? (your personality, your outlook, your family, where you live etc.)
  • What is different about your life experience?
  • What is something you have experienced which not everybody has?
  • What stories have you told friends and family which they have found moving / funny / interesting?
  • Who is someone who has impacted your life and how?
  • What mistakes have you made which you learned great lessons from?
  • What hopes and dreams do you have and how are you moving towards them?

Then – write!

Try to make your first few sentences interesting so people will be enticed to read on. Don’t start with a dictionary definitions (unless it’s an intriguing one!) – try to use your own words.

Pick one main idea and stick to it.

Planning out your article beforehand will help you make sense and stick to topic. Break your main idea down into a couple of key points.

Keep the tone relaxed and conversational, rather than uptight or formal. Stick to simple language you would use when telling a story to friends, but of course every now and again it’s brilliant to throw in the perfect describing word!

Get to the point. Don’t waste words. Think of the person reading – they don’t have all day, so get to the good stuff as soon as possible! Use a variety of sentence lengths, but for the most part keep your sentences and paragraphs short.

Read your article aloud and get the feel of it in your own ears. That way you may realise there are some awkward expressions to iron out.

People like hearing your stories, much more than your advice. There is already so much advice out there, we don’t want to add to the noise. None of us have all the answers, but we can share our experiences... you know, things that have actually happened to you, how you felt, what you did. And if you’re willing to be vulnerable, people will be interested and much more likely to listen to what you’re saying. There is no-one quite like you. No-one sees the world quite the same as you do – and that is fascinating! So be brave and fess up, we’re a supportive sisterhood after all.

Look for turning points – moments when things change. They are fascinating and can add suspense to a story.

At first, just get it out. It is normal to have to write a few drafts. You can get really stuck if you think your first draft has to be perfect. Just go for it – then come back and tidy it up later.

If it fits, add a question or challenge at the end of your story, to encourage action and discussion.

Lastly, give your piece a working title and a couple of introductory sentences. These can be tricky to think of, but just write something, as it really helps the editing team have something to work with and to get an idea of the main point of your story.

Getting technical

If you quote someone – please make sure you have the correct person/source who said it and spell their name correctly. It’s good to know a bit about who you’re quoting, are they someone worth listening to?

Avoid the word ‘that’ when the sentence makes sense without it or in referring to a person (use ‘who’ instead).

If punctuation is not your thing, don’t worry about it, we’ll fix it.

Avoid the words ‘all’ and ‘none’ unless they’re really true. Try most, many, lots, copious, few, less, scant.

Avoid the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ unless they’re really true! Try often, sometimes, usually, regularly, repeatedly, rarely, barely, hardly, seldom.

Avoid the word ‘should’ if possible (because: don’t tell me what to do!).

Try to be specific. Steer clear of generalisations like ‘society is oppressing me’ or ‘the media portrays women like this’ because it simply isn’t true. Society and the media are made up of millions of individuals, all different. Not all of society is oppressing you and not all of the media portrays women in a certain way. It’s complicated. Describe your experience. Give real examples. Being specific about a problem makes a way for a specific solution – which is much more hopeful than a vague one!

Wherever possible, avoid the names of businesses and brands. We don’t want to give them free advertising.

Show respect. If you’re writing about a certain person or people in your story, check with them and consider how they will feel, reading about themselves. Think about whether it might be wise to give them a pseudonym, to protect their privacy.

If you’re writing about something factual – please include references. These usually won’t be published but we need to see where you got your facts from.

We’re here to help you. No person is an island. Writers have to be open to having their work edited. You don’t have to publish anything you’re unhappy with, but you have to be open to talking it through.

Have fun! Have a go! If you get stuck, let us know!