- Our message: where it all began and what we’re all about
- What we’re looking for
- Writing guidelines: topics, style, word-count etc.
- Members-only articles
- Becoming a contributor
1. Our Message
I’m on a quest to help other people find happiness. In fact, I’m dedicating the majority of my time and money to doing exactly that.
Because at the beginning of 2018, my fiancé was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Before then, I’d never have imagined myself being able to cope with such awful news — yet here I am. Coping.
I guess I just tried to teach myself how to be happy; to find peace in the face of adversity. But I wanted to do more than that.
I wanted to create a space that would teach other people how to live as happily as possible, even in the most testing of circumstances.
So I launched Mind Cafe — a publication with one goal: to give people the tools they need to live better lives, regardless of what’s happening on the outside; a publication with the potential to grow and expand into something that could change the lives of many. A force for change.
I guess it’s just my way of making a difference — sculpting something positive out of an otherwise pretty terrible situation.
2. What We’re Looking For
One single goal should underpin every article at Mind Cafe: it should teach our readers how to live a better, happier life. It’s that simple.
Your writing shouldn’t just benefit a minute subgroup of people. Our readers aren’t a niche audience — they’re normal people living normal lives with a desire to make those lives extraordinary.
An article about the psychological benefits of taking LSD, for instance, would only really add value to the lives of people prepared to take such a drug — which probably isn’t that many.
Instead, your article should speak to most of the people reading it; think of the average person and teach them a lesson about happiness that they could understand and apply rather than honing in on a subject that can only be applied in specific situations.
Fields like spirituality, religion and faith are all interesting topics to cover — just not here. They’re too specific; too niche.
Take a wider approach. Speak to everybody. Produce content that could better the lives of just about every person on this planet should they choose to read it.
We’re looking for inspiring texts that not only benefit all readers, but articles that contain clear, actionable information — advice can be read and then actually applied.
If you’re writing about meditation, teach the reader how to meditate. If you’re writing about how to cope with stress, give them techniques to put into practice.
Don’t just write an essay giving your opinion or what could otherwise pass as a diary entry. Provide value to your reader. Give them something to take away.
Our best-performing articles are those that draw upon external support and evidence from research, philosophies or approved theories.
These references will make your article much more compelling, giving readers confidence in applying the information you’re providing.
Granted, not all topics will require equal amounts of supporting evidence. If you’re planning on writing about your personal experiences, do so, but aim to draw upon other sources to reinforce your points if you can. These may be studies, philosophies or even just quotes from relevant scholars.
In the article below, I outlined philosopher Epicurus’s theories of happiness. I didn’t include any of my personal experiences in that piece. I focused solely on external philosophies.
Yet in the following article, I spoke almost entirely about my own experiences. I offered an insight into some of the most troubling aspects of my life and how I’ve learned to cope with them along the way.
There’s no right or wrong, but we’ve certainly found that our best-performing articles, and those that Medium selects for curation, are the ones that are supported by at least some theory/evidence. If you’re going to hold anything up as absolute truth, just be sure to support your arguments.
3. Writing Guidelines
Below are some tips for maximizing your chances of having your work accepted for publication.
We expect our writers to do the majority of their own editing. We’re happy to help with prose and framing ideas occasionally, but misspelt words and grammar errors are easy enough to fix on your own.
Because of this, we highly recommend that all of our writers run their work through Grammarly. When we receive a draft, we don’t want to see more than a couple of critical errors, and Grammarly will help you fix these easily (and for free).
At Mind Cafe, we pride ourselves on simplicity and honesty. Our tone is conversational and relaxed.
We believe in good writing, but good writing as something that’s accessible and easy to understand. We don’t want long, complicated sentences that people have to read several times to fully understand.
While these have their place in academic texts, we believe that readers looking to improve their lives want to access useful information quickly and easily — without having to decipher archaic words that only seven people on the planet can actually define.
As well as simplicity, we’d like you to keep your article engaging. Mix things up. Balance short, snappy sentences and longer, more informative ones to keep your reader interested. Make it flow. Keep it exciting.
- Distinguish paragraphs from headings using Medium’s big T and little T options. Don’t just make your headings bold or italicized.
- Use an eye-catching cover photo that you have the rights to. You can find such photos, license-free, on Unsplash, Pexels or Pixabay. Feel free to use your own photography, too. Just make sure to tell us where you got your photos from when you submit your article. To align with our colour scheme and brand, we may decide to change your photo.
- Don’t promote. If you’re looking to sell/market products, Medium is the wrong place for it. As is Mind Cafe. Your articles are also far less likely to be selected for distribution by Medium’s curators if you advertise. We may also add a link to our newsletter at the bottom of your article, too. This won’t affect your rates of curation.
As said before, we welcome any information that relates to self-help and personal improvement. Below are some of our favourite topics:
- Mental health
You’re not restricted to these. So long as it’s something that the average reader can benefit from and it follows our guidelines, we’re happy.
4. We Only Accept Members-Only Articles
Mind Cafe is only accepting members-only articles. Why? Because recent changes to Medium’s algorithm mean that only these locked pieces have the opportunity to be selected for distribution by curators.
For large publications with hundreds of thousands of followers, distribution doesn’t matter so much. They have a lot of organic traffic to keep them going. For smaller ones like us, it’s our only chance of growing and reaching a wider audience.
While, ideally, we’d keep everything free, there are two key advantages to us doing switching things over.
1. You get paid
The first major advantage is that you’ll be eligible to earn money via the Medium partner program. Whether you’re a professional freelancer or a rookie blogger, if your stories are high-quality and engaging then you stand to earn a decent chunk of money for your writing.
2. You get more exposure
If your story is good enough to be selected for distribution by curators, you stand to reach a far wider audience specific to the subject of your article. As a publisher, I’m able to view the stats for all of our stories, and it is without a doubt those that get selected for curation that perform the best.
Although your articles are, technically, restricted to Medium members, you still have access to friend links. These are links that can be shared with anybody, friends, followers and clients, enabling them to read your content for free.
Anybody can access our content and Mind Cafe via our social media channels, where we share friend links to selected pieces.
5. Submitting an Article
Then, fill in this form. (Only once per article please!)
If we like your article and wish to publish it, we’ll add you as a writer to Mind Cafe, after which you’ll be required to do two things.
- First, we’ll need you to submit your article to our publication. Simply click on the three dots in the top-right corner of your article and select ‘Add to Publication’.
Note: we only accept unpublished drafts.
2. Make sure your article is eligible to earn money via the Medium Partner Program. When you click ‘Publish’, you’ll see a tick box like the one below.
3. Once it’s been added, we’ll edit your work, run it past you and then add it to our publishing schedule.
Since there are only two of us, we don’t always have the time to notify applicants of rejected pieces — but, if you don’t hear from either Reed or me within 3–5 days, you can assume that your article hasn’t been accepted for publication this time around.