We've compiled some author guidelines that should give you a sense of what we're looking for. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us via e-mail or on Twitter at @the3six5Chicago.
When you e-mail us:
- Please think of three to five potential non-birthday/anniversary/pre-planned special occasion dates on which you'd like to write. When you e-mail us, include those dates. (NOTE: Due to the volume of requests, we may not be able to give you any of your dates; in that case we'll e-mail you with some suggestions.)
- Be sure to tell us about yourself and your unique point of view on life, as well as your life in Chicago. A blank -- or near-blank -- email probably won't be responded to promptly, if at all!
How this works:
You are writing about the specific day you've been assigned. Try to stay relevant to your experience that day and don't overlap days unless something really extraordinary is taking place in the world over a span of several days. (e.g. the recent earthquake in Haiti)
- Write your post at the end of that day and send it to email@example.com by 7pm Central Time at the absolute LATEST. (Of course, the earlier, the better -- this will cut down on a lot of the late-night back and forth, but if there are extenuating circumstances, please let us know in advance.) So as not to make you write at odd hours of the night, we're asking you write at the end of your day.
- On your day, you absolutely must keep an open line of communication with us. Even though we are asking for delivery of your post by 7PM, please try to respond to our emails promptly so we know that you're available to write. (As you can imagine, posting each day means we're overly sensitive to timing.) If you don't mind, please cater to our micromanagement and keep us assured of your participation. If you don't respond promptly, we may give your day to someone else.
- We will post your piece up either later that night, or early the next day so that the latest anyone will have to wait to hear your thoughts is 24 hours (pending no major crises are taking place for Daniel, Len or anyone else involved in the project.)
- When you see your post the next day, please feel free to promote it in any way you want. Daniel and Len will promote the project on their own, but we'll take any of the help we can get. If you want to repost your work on your own blog, website, etc please feel comfortable doing so. All we ask is that you wait until it goes up live on the3six5 Chicago first.
- Each post must reflect a day of your life in Chicago. Our main project, the3six5, is a continuum of life around the world. the3six5 Chicago is meant to document life specifically. Therefore, each post must represent Chicago in some way. (Things you did, ate, saw, heard and experienced -- all Chicago-related -- should be included.)
- Each post must have a maximum of 365 words. This is less space than you think, so be careful in how you use your words.
- Each post must include a bio of around 140 characters.
- Please include some sort of visual in your post. It needs to be something YOU created (e.g. a photo, drawing, audio, video, etc.), but by no means feel the need to do this. If you send an outside photo or video, make sure we can repurpose it; don't just grab any picture you find on Flickr or Google Images.
- Keep your post RELATIVELY clean. This can be defined as many things, but if we feel the average person would take great offense to what you write, we're reserving the right to not publish your post, or to edit it heavily. We know we're working with an extraordinary group of smart and opinionated people, but we want to make sure that this diary of the year is acceptable to as many people as possible. (PG-13 is a safe bet.)
- the3six5 Chicago is a project meant for Chicagoans in all walks of life, Keep self-promotion to an absolute minimum. Don't talk about the great things your company does. This is a place for you to write about your experiences as they relate the bigger picture in Chicago. We're not asking you to hide your own projects and work, but only mention them when they're relevant to the story. Please don't take advantage of this podium to promote yourself, so in the body of your post, please refrain from mentioning specific names of your channels (e.g. your website, blogs, Twitter) as we will not include them. Everyone who is an author will be listed in our directory and we're happy to link out to wherever you wish.
- Start your piece off with a 140-character bio of who you are. You can share anything you wish here. We know that not everyone is defined by location, job or family, so use this to frame up quickly WHO is telling the story. This 140-character bio does not cut into your 365-word post.
- In terms of the body of your post, we don't want to give you much guidance other than us asking for two things: First, include a timely piece of information in your post that helps the reader get a sense of what day it is. Put yourself in the place of a reader who is about to read 365 entries in a diary. They are going to want some general feeling of going in a chronological order. The second thing we ask is to make your post relatable to others in Chicago.
When we say relatable, we don't mean you need to write something that others will agree with; we just mean that your writing includes something that people can understand. If your hobby is collecting dead pigeons, it may be interesting for the four other Chicagoans who do that, but not everyone else in the city, which is what you should assume your potential audience is. Feel free to talk about the unique things in your life, but explain them concisely and spend more time talking about why it matters to you that day.
- Be personal. Obviously don't share what you're not comfortable with, but also take some risks. This project is part diary, part living historical document (or so we'd like to think). If someone wanted to get a diary of the current year based on facts they could just screen grab CNN's homepage each day for 365 days. We want you to talk about current events, but the important part is that you explain how they make YOU feel.
- This one's important (well, they all are, but you know what we mean): In the actual post, you don't need to reference this project, or the fact that others will be reading it, or the deadlines. Pretend you're just writing a diary entry where you are reflecting on what is around you, not the actual task at hand (which is writing the post).
- After you hit "Send," assume that your post is going up as is. Managing this project will be extremely time-consuming and we cannot add editing to our list of items to manage, but we reserve the right to edit copy for readability, flow, grammar, spelling and any other potential issues we find with your copy.
- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us know as soon as possible if you have a conflict. If one person makes a mistake and doesn't write their piece on time it's going to be unfair to the rest of the participants. We're not naive enough to think it won't happen, but for the sake of not letting down your fellow authors, do everything you can to ensure you remember to send in your piece by 7 PM Central Standard Time. (Of course, the earlier, the better.)
- There are 364 other authors helping with this project. On occasion, stop by the project page to see what your peers are writing about and if possible even leave a comment. Each day will provoke thoughts in many of us authors/fans that would be worthy of sharing with each other in this forum.
- YOU MUST BE 18+ TO BE AN AUTHOR. We're absolutely honored that so many of our younger friends have shown interest in this project but due to current and future implications of the3six5, we must insist that everyone is of legal age.
- Thank you so much. We couldn't do this without you.
By submitting and posting (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or other email addresses owned by Daniel Honigman or Len Kendall or displaying content intended for the3six5 project), you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). Read more here.