Essential Media seeks your unique, real-life pandemic experiences – submissions that will motivate, encourage, and inspire our readers. The very experiences that  touched your heart and provided you with newfound courage, we want to share with our readers.

These may be stories about having to learn to live with family again even as you socially distanced in a ridiculously small space. They may be stories about how you fell in love with your home again, or how – due to job loss or other financial hardship– you were forced to leave the place you lived for somewhere you thought you could never call home.

Were you an essential worker? Maybe you worked in healthcare, or perhaps you learned you were essential in the most unlikely of places. Maybe you and your coworkers grew into a closer team even as you juggled kids and pets and mute buttons and the etiquette of virtual happy  hours. Or perhaps instead you were forced to face the shuttering of a family business.

Maybe you lost a loved one, yet their impact on your life and lives all around them eclipsed the mere number of years they lived.

Or maybe you experienced uniquely COVID comedy!

The number of unique, real-life stories are as numerous as the people who lived them. And while many of these experiences were difficult to navigate, we at Essential Media are interested in what you learned, and in what – or who – inspired you.

A submission should be:

  • A specific aspect or occurrence of your own real-life experience during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Expressed as a story or poem of up to 1200 words in length
  • Told in the first person (e.g., you use “I”, “me”, “my” to tell your story)
  • Brimming with the same emotions that made the experience so memorable for you
  • Hopeful and forward-looking, and written in such a way that it motivates and inspires. This is true even when a submission has moments that are sad, or moments when you didn’t know how you were going to make it through.

A submission should not be:

  • A lecture
  • A work of fiction
  • A retelling primarily of someone else’s experience that doesn’t emphasize its impact upon you
  • Negative, dreary, or discouraging. A submission may have moments that are heart-rending or grim, but these shouldn’t be the feelings or final impression that the reader is left with.

If your submission is selected, you will be asked to sign and return Essential Media’s Standard Author Agreement. Upon receipt of the signed Agreement, you’ll receive $250. Upon publication, you’ll receive 10 free copies of the book in which your submission appears as well as a portion of every qualified sale.

The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2021.