Writers Guidelines

ProgBud Writers Guidelines

Persons wishing to contribute content to this blog, are, by that definition alone, wonderful people! If you are such a person, please read this sheet and then contact Justin W at Buddhistethics AT gmail.com.  Chances are good he'll let you join the club.

The following are guidelines, meant fully as only that, and not restrictions to what writers contributing to Progressive Buddhism blog can do [or not do] when crafting a post, or otherwise being part of The Team of Contributors.
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Of importance, posts should be in touch with the description of what this blog is about.
About Progressive Buddhism This is a group blog on the topic of progressive, modern Buddhism - looking at Buddhism in the light of modern knowledge, free from excessive dependence on ancient dogmas; looking at the best ways to integrate Buddhism into modern life and modern societies; discussing and encouraging an empirical or scientific approach; seeing insight and awakening as a living tradition not just a historical one.
Generally, a blogpost should be a stand-alone essay on a topic that is identified early on in the text. Authors of posts should be careful to identify sources of information that are used and to link to sources when possible. One of the great advantages of text online is that it can be weaved into associated information that is online elsewhere. Think Link, y’all.

By all means, write in the style in which you are comfortable. Post crazy, nutty, weird or counter-cultural content if that is your thing. Humor readers! Shock them! Fool them! Annoy and dismay them! But if your method is on the wild side, please still respect the serious nature of most content of this blog and restrain your Mr. Hyde subpersonality to THE BODY of the post, and be conventionally serious as a craftsperson, a writer.

At the end of your post, include a short bio, in a paragraph of about 25 words, which describes you in third person. By all means, include a link to your solo-blog(s), if you have one(/them), and/or your Google profile or somesuch. If you are attending Harvard, let readers know. If you are ALL THAT, let readers know THAT. It is probably a good idea to compose a ‘standard’ bio blurb, which you can easily alter in the case of unusual posts you write that are better served by a bio blurb with a specific focus. But, please, don’t be weird about who you are. The purpose of the bio is for readers to understand where you’re coming from.

If you are a regular writer for this blog [as opposed to a less-frequent guest writer] it is asked that you put up a post at a frequency of no less than eight per year [which works out to about one every six or seven weeks]. You are certainly encouraged to post MORE frequently than that. If regular writers do not maintain a contribution load meeting minimum requirements, loss of gym membership is probable.

Please polish your work to a shiny gloss, before posting it. We don’t take no crap here at ProgBud blog. We demand excellence for our discriminating readers. If you don’t require the best from yourself, loss of use of the limo service is probable.

If you are at a loss for something to write, here is a suggestion for a perfect blogpost:
Focus on a single idea and write about it in 700 words. Imposing a length restraint can be helpful. Seven hundred words is somewhat magical. For one thing, seven is a lucky number. Seven hundred is also the approximate length in words of columns of New York Times political writers. Too many fewer than 700 words leaves an essay underdeveloped. An essay of too many more than 700 words gets draggy and drifts off topic. Besides, many readers have short attention spans. After 700 words, instead of maintaining their stare at your words, they begin to look for the refrigerator . Said pithily: Find your topic. Dive into the heart of it. Get out, and get on with life. And also include some kind of picture. Readers like pictures.
Re-posting material that you have written for some other publisher or blog is OK. It’s OK because I [Tom Armstrong] have done it a lot myself recently.

If you do re-use material, here is what’s best:
Use something old, pull it out of your computer and dust it off. It will need a complete refurbishing. Bring what’s old hat up-to-date. Make changes such that it is in the style of how you write today, with all your increased wisdom and wonderfulness. Freely make changes even to the point of turning your opinions of things completely around. Don’t be shy -- or lazy. Do what you must to make what was old new, fresh and exciting . At the end of the piece, focus on pith and write something like: A different version of this post first appeared in The New Yorker as “Abraham Lincoln was a Buddha.”

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