We currently are on a hiatus from receiving new article content as we continue to ponder our objectives. (Our weekly podcast is going strong.) The article below expresses our ethos as we've understood it, so by all means take a look if that's of interest. We'll hope to discover our hopes for articles on the site sometime soon, and we promise to keep you posted here.
The idea behind Horatio is to stir up broad-based conversations about the deepest things in life. We’ve found that even our most thoughtful friends understandably get caught up in living day to day. But when we get together and talk into the night, great things happen. At Horatio, we’re eager to jump-start these late-night conversations.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you produce your awesome content.
But, first, a few starting points.
Before reading further here, please read our short "Our Story" page. We're trying something more unique than you'd think. This will spell that out for you.
And a qualifier:
The qualifier: We’re only looking for original content.
Many of you have dynamic blogs. That’s awesome! That said, as you’ll note below, we’re looking to create a site that has its own voice and perspective and so, for the moment at least, all of the content will be original to it. This will require a pitch for each piece of content you have in mind before you write it. If you have a subject you’ve blogged about that would seem to be great for this site, by all means pitch us about it. But don’t send the original blog post.
1. Write about real things that you care about and have passion for.
Invite us into a part of the world that you see clearly.
2. Write beyond your in-group.
When first-time contributors miss the mark, it's mostly for this reason, so give this special attention. I, for instance, have a religious background. I also, strangely, have a secular background. Both groups have powerful things to say about meaning in life, but tend only to say them to their own groups. We want you to let us in on things you’re passionate about! But keep in mind people who don’t start with your assumptions.
With that in mind, a note: by and large, the goal here is not mutual understanding. It’s not explaining to “the other side” why your side thinks the way you do. It’s, instead, to conduct conversations of mutual interest. (“By and large” because, of course, there will always be exceptions, and speaking, say, as a secular person to the secular community while churchgoers look in might well be a great article. But it’s not the bread and butter.) Read a few Horatio articles and you should get a feel for this.
3. Lean towards 1st-person rather than 2nd-person.
This also isn't monolithic. But we're finding that "here's what I'm learning" is working better on the site than "here's my advice to you."
4. Have a point of view about your subject.
What’s your take on the material you’re bringing to us? Is it a travesty? An underappreciated gem? Sell us on your point. When we first formulated these guidelines, I noted a movie review on Grantland.com of the at-the-moment new Cameron Diaz movie The Other Woman. Rather than headlining it as: “Movie Review: The Other Woman,” here’s the headline: “Poison Candy: The Other Woman and the Disastrous State of Female Comedies.” Do you think Wesley Morris, the Pulitzer Prize winning reviewer, has a point of view he’s arguing? Be like Wesley Morris. (A quick note on headlines: As I discovered when I started writing for my college newspaper, headlines tend to be written by the editor, as he or she is trying to match the point of view of the paper at large.)
5. Keep in mind our ethos: Playful. Smart. Substantive.
This isn’t monolithic. You might have an article for which, say, “playful” wouldn’t be appropriate (that sex trafficking piece you’ve been dying to write, for instance). But as a rule, we’ll look to these three adjectives. We describe our content as “delightful” in a lot of our internal discussion. Along with content you’ve read on Horatio, Grantland.com and Slate.com would be sites to take a look at in this spirit.
What sort of things might you write about?
We’re looking for whatever you have passion to tell us about in your world. Our content has been clustering around five categories:
1. Cultural commentary
From a meaning point of view. As I, for instance, write pieces on recent movies, rather than reviewing them, I find myself focusing on what larger stakes they make me think about.
2. Spiritual/philosophical commentary
What’s important to you these days about finding a rich, happy, meaningful life?
3. A view from your workplace
What might we not know about being a lawyer? Or working as a barista? Or being a stay at home parent? Or working in finance? Or working construction?
4. Lifestyle insights
You’re a widow. Or an immigrant. Or dealing with the loss of a parent. Invite us into what you’re learning about your world.
5. Insights from science
Lots of our writers are excited about science. Let us know what’s meaningful to you along these lines.
But there’s also a sixth category:
6. That area of passion that’s not mentioned above
One friend of mine has created a site around sustainable living and I’m hoping he’ll write a great piece about “why you need to give sustainable living a whole lot more attention than you do right now.” Whatever drives your passions these days, we want to hear about it.
Some practical guidelines:
Try to pitch us three articles. Give us a sample title and a sentence or two about the heart of the piece.
Shoot for 1,000 words. If you need more or less, let us know.
Be aware that there is a review process which, at times, can be rigorous. I hope, in the end, that's good and not bad news for you! It means we take the content here seriously and are eager for you to be seen in your best light even as we provide high quality for our readers.
We’re eager to enjoy the content you’ll create that comes from a deep and passionate part of you!
Thanks for reading! Again, we are not accepting pitches for article content at the moment. All the best with your writing, and perhaps your great article will see the light of day here at some point.