Do you get frustrated that the media rarely publishes op-eds from women promoting sexual sanity? That “the other side” is so much louder in mainstream media on the side of protecting women’s “rights” to abortion, casual sex and “free” hormonal birth control? And that women who defend sex and kids within a loving commitment, instead of uncommitted sex and abortion, almost never get a word in edgewise?
Well, here’s one thing within our control that we can do to change things: share our perspective with the media far more often. Relentlessly write letters and op-eds to publish at major news outlets. Take the time to write, refuse to be frustrated with the requirement for getting published, and see it through to the end.
Our discouragement will be Planned Parenthood’s gain.
There are thousands of women out there who need to hear our message. They don’t read pro-life or religious websites by and large, but instead more mainstream publications. If we never leave the choir loft, how will they ever hear the other side?
In short, you can change the world with your laptop, without ever leaving your couch. But first, you need to protect yourself from the discouragement that can prevent you from doing the work you were MEANT to do: sharing sanity in a sea of disinformation.
Here are the top 5 things that prevent you from speaking for yourself, and how to overcome them:
- Believing that the media is “out to get us” or just disinterested
As someone who has worked for several years now in media in Washington DC, I can tell you that this is flat-out false. Earlier this year, the New York Times interviewed one of our members, a pro-life woman, and made her their main story on the Women’s March. Other major outlets like the Wall Street Journal have published op-eds this year about why the sexual revolution harms our daughters. That’s to say nothing of outlets like the Federalist who regularly publish content by WSFT members, or the local papers in your town and state who are looking to hear from citizens like you.
The problem is not that media doesn’t care about women who are pro-life and pro-sexual sanity; they just don’t tend to receive sufficiently regular and high-quality content by them.
They want your stories. But they are not going to find you. You have to reach out to them. And when you do, it has to be written in a style they can publish (which is not too hard when you know their requirements!).
The second problem is perfectionism. Many women unfortunately believe that they will not do “justice to the cause” if they write, because they are not “talented” or “knowledgeable” enough. They fear making the littlest mistake.
Yet this is not a fear of many Planned Parenthood defenders who get published on a regular basis. How often do they publish poorly-written articles—in major news outlets—with inaccurate statistics like the oft-repeated, disproven lie that 99% of women use birth control?
The LAST thing I would suggest is following their example by not rigorously fact-checking your article (you must). Similarly, bring your “A game” with writing! I only share that example to show that many women get published, even if they make mistakes or aren’t the most gifted writers. WSFT also has many fact sheets and talking points, which can be a starting point for your own writing.
It is far better to attempt to write, and do your best, than to not try at all. Sooner than later you’ll get there.
- Modesty about sex-related topics
Sex is incredibly personal. Many women committed to sexual integrity follow faith traditions that hold sex as sacred. Therefore, many fear that speaking about sexual topics in public is irreverent or immodest.
I hope that these women prayerfully consider where their duty lies here in speaking the truth in love, and whether that may include writing about the subject for a secular audience. Many secular young women have never been told that the choices they make about sex and relationships can affect their health, their emotional well-being, their future marriage and family, and even their future children.
There is a “middle ground” where these subjects can be broached in a thoughtful way that is understandable to our secular sisters. Can you spend 90 minutes writing to reach them?
- Not knowing how to begin
Many women like the idea of writing, but don’t know where to start. To help you, WSFT has given you this guide to writing publishable material! Once you’ve written and carefully edited your op-ed, send it via email it to the editor of the publication you’ve been eyeing. It’s that simple.
- Discouragement with building relationships with editors
When their initial efforts are met with a rejection (or, more likely, no response) many new writers get discouraged. Never fear. There are many reasons why a paper will not publish your article, including timeliness of the subject matter, or if they are already publishing a similar op-ed.
Editors are busy, but I encourage you to ask them, if you think it appropriate, why the article did not fit their needs, and let them know that you hope to submit work to them again in the future.
Even experienced writers often have to submit to a publication a few times before getting published there. Building relationships with editors takes time.
And you can try again. After giving the editor notice that you are withdrawing your piece from consideration, you can revise your article to fit another publication.
Always save your unpublished articles, and draw on them for future inspiration. None of your careful work is ever wasted!
The next two articles in this series will help you with some of the most common, but easily overcome, challenges to publishing: including “Why They Didn’t Publish You … And How To Edit So They Will” and “How to Make Time to Write!”
Remember, women, empowered by the facts can change things. So let’s get out there, and speak for ourselves!