As a person working towards becoming a part of the publishing world someday, I make sure to explore it daily, learn what I must learn, and discover its little secrets so it becomes familiar enough for me to conquer it and not get lost in it. Part of the reason I created the Writers Club within xoNecole's xoTribe community app (if you haven't become a member of xoNecole's community app, join the tribe here) was to help novice writers sharpen their skills and gain confidence through practice and feedback, as well as gain tips from experienced writers within the group.
Equipped with those tools, there are quite a few subject matters that the writer in me feels confident enough to issue and advise other writers on. A perfect example of that is how to properly pitch stories to writing platforms. When submitting stories to websites and writing platforms for opportunities to be featured and have your work published, it's all about the pitch. In fact, there are a few keys all beginner writers should keep in mind when pitching and submitting stories to outlets. You can find them below.
Know The Audience, Know The Voice
Before you pitch or submit anything, it is of the utmost importance that you do your research when looking to write for a site. How can you write for a site that you don't read? Depending on the area that you want to pitch yourself for, take time to read 3-5 of the latest stories published within that section to get a feel of the kinds of stories that are published, frequent writers that are used, and most importantly, the voice of the site. Is it conversational or uplifting? Informative or personal? It's important to know who the site is to know how to best craft the ideas and the subsequent pieces you wish to pen for a publication.
An editor can tell a mile away if you're a reader of the site you publish based off of your ideas and writing style. For example, a site like xoNecole is not going to publish a story called "10 Times Claire Danes Gave Us Our Lives On 'Homeland'". Why? Although it's a women's interest site, they cater more exclusively to Black women and WOC and if you researched the site, you'd see that although the talk about TV and movies from time to time, it's about Black content, ideally centering around Black leads. So yes, take your time to get to know the audience because that will help you understand the voice and the kind of content they prefer to be featured on their outlet.
Only Pitch When Necessary
In my opinion, pitching stories without submitting a draft when it's not necessary is somewhat a waste of time. For both you and the editor. You should only pitch a story without a draft when the story you want to cover requires you to put in a high level of work (i.e. extensive research, interviews), invest your own money (i.e. when you could potentially use the resources of your proposed outlet), or when you want to make sure that the topic you're writing about will only be covered by you (i.e. you don't want to write about something that another writer could already be covering). If none of that is the case, then you don't want to wait around for your editor to give you the green light before you start writing. To me, as a writer, your judgement should be strong enough to know whether your story fits your targeted platform's voice/genre or not.
As author Elizabeth Gilbert stated in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, ideas wait for no one.
You either do something about them while you can or someone else might do something with the idea you had while you're waiting for a response from your editor. Moreover, writing a piece that you aren't 100% sure will be published on the platform of your choice isn't the waste of time you might think it is; it's experience. It's work that you can still submit to another platform if it gets rejected, publish on your own site, or attach to your resume when you apply for writing jobs.
When you do pitch, include the pitch and the proposed headline in the email's subject line to entice the editor to open the email. Inside of your email, give a quick intro into who you are, then segue into the pitch idea(s) you'd like to pursue, ideally formatted like the example below:
2-3 sentences summarizing what the article is about (not an excerpt), the angle you want to approach (especially if it's a subject already explored on the site -- how will yours be different?), and the kind of article it is (interview, listicle, timely, evergreen).
Side note: Ideally, you'd also include the full draft of the proposed pitch idea with your email, if not, the editor and you will usually correspond about whether or not the pitch is the right fit for the site at the time.
Submit Full Drafts That Only Require Few Edits
Keywords: full draft.
Unless it's for requesting guidance or a professional opinion, I never submit an incomplete draft (a draft that isn't fully ready for publication). Simply because that too is a waste of time; it lengthens the writing, editing, and publishing process. I believe that when you aim for your story to be considered and/or secure a contributor contract, you must provide the editor with material that displays your writing style, versatility, and talent. You don't want to submit only an excerpt and risk the editor overlooking a potentially great pitch just because it was unfinished and didn't reel them in. Show your editor that you can cook and plate your ideas mostly on your own so that the only thing that is left for them to do is add a little seasoning.
Pro tip: When you submit your work to a platform you've never been published on before, send along a short author bio (include any links you want hyperlinked) and a picture of yourself to avoid too many email exchanges.
Format Your Drafts According To Your Targeted Writing Platform's Guidelines
Formatting your draft according to your targeted writing platform's guidelines, if any, is like wearing the right outfit for an interview; you want to ensure the draft is presentable, the way you intend for it to publish on the site, and easy to read. That said, platforms don't really set rules when it comes to formatting, at least not that I noticed. How do you know how to arrange your draft then?
If you study several pieces published on that particular platform, you'll find clues here and there. For me personally, every time I submit a story to xoNecole's Managing editor, I make it look like it was already published on the site:
- I give my piece a title (side note: even though it's more than likely going to be edited, it's good to provide the editor with options to choose from),
- I place a subheadline (a catchy sentence that acts as a preview for the content within the post that sits under the headline),
- I include clear and concise headers (especially to highlight the points that I make in my paragraphs),
- I quote one or two of my own sentences (just because it catches people's interest and keeps them reading),
- I use GIFs or other illustrations (and also include links to the sources),
- I use a similar font to the one used on the site and change the size when necessary.
The reason why I format my submissions this way is to condition the editor's mind to post them on the site just because they already look like they're content you'd see published on the site. And if they already look like they are and the content is good enough, why wouldn't they actually be?
Now mind you, not all contributors do that—yet they still get published—and this technique isn't a promise that your stories will get published. But knowing that some of mine pieces have been published the exact way I submitted them, I see that there is method to the madness and that it does indeed work. Plus, I'm sure it's appreciated by the editor(s).
Now, watch your editor open your emails before anyone else's.
Are you looking to link with a tribe of writers? Join The xoTribe's Writers Club, an online community where among other amazing things, experienced and aspiring writers can connect and find the resources, motivation, and coaching they need to produce great quality work ready for publication.
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The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy