Over the last few years, the writing on my blog has increasingly converged around a genre that I am calling the “informational blog post.”
These are personalized introductions to topics of interest, framing the topic in an approachable, interesting, inspiring way. It’s like a Wikipedia article, but more personable, friendly, and opinionated.
Ideally, the informational blog post should inspire the reader to be interested in the material, provide context about the topic, give actionable next steps, etc.
An excellent informational blog post takes thought, care, and diligence to write. It also requires deep familiarity with a topic.
There are more topics of interest in this world than I could possibly research and write about in my lifetime.
That’s why I’m launching a contest for new informational blog posts, with cash prizes: the Share Your Knowledge! Essay Contest.
I am doing this out of love for the genre, and a desire to see the genre spread more widely.
I want to read pieces in this genre about topics that I would be interested in learning more about, but might not otherwise have time to research.
I want to encourage people to write a blog post who might not otherwise write and publish their writing, or who might not otherwise consider writing a piece within this genre. I want to encourage those writers to share their writing, to experience the many wonderful but hard-to-predict benefits of having more writing in their portfolio.
Finally, I want to notice and enjoy the second-order effects of having more excellent writing about topics of interest in the world!
Submissions should be:
- a new original piece, not previously published publicly
- published on a blog or web hosting platform (your website, Substack, Medium, etc.), with a publicly accessible URL
- between 1,000 and 10,000 words
Submit your essays for consideration to [email protected]. Include your name, the title of your essay, the URL where it can be found, your social media and contact information.
Applications are due by midnight on November 1st, 2022. The winners will be announced in November!
What makes for an excellent submission?
An excellent post will:
- pick an interesting, useful topic which is underrepresented, that you have a unique perspective on or experience with
- begin with a story, perhaps from your personal life, making the topic interesting, relevant, and inspiring to learn more about
- give a thorough introductory treatment of the topic—putting it into context, explaining relevant concepts, including exercises to try, etc.
- have a strong, compelling personal voice, showcasing your personality and opinions, personal story and background, etc.
- include well curated resources and links for learning more about the chosen topic
- be an enjoyable, compelling piece to read
We also encourage (but do not require):
- reading The Art of Writing the Informational Blog Post
- using art, photography, and typography to make the post visually pleasing and inspiring
- licensing your writing with a Creative Commons license (e.g. CC BY-NC-SA)
What are some good examples of essays?
Here are a few of my own essays that fit this genre:
- Learn You A Fundraising For Great Good
- The Strategic Theory of John Boyd
- Discovering Bliss States
- Rob Burbea: Ordinary Guy, Werewolf, Eternal Wanderer
Here are some essays that we especially like that fit this genre from other authors:
- Massaging Yourself and Your Loved Ones by Jane Miller
- A Guide to Reading Your Own Natal Chart by Sadalsuud
- My Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking by Michael Ashcroft
- How I Made a Documentary Film with Digital Notes by Tiago Forte
What are some possible topics someone could write about?
You can write about any topic you like, so long as the piece you write fits the genre, but here are some ideas for possible topics we’d love to read about:
- Perceptual Control Theory
- Coherence Therapy
- Developmental Psychology
- Theory of Mind
- Music Production
- Digital Art
- Color Theory
- Forming Non-Profits
Someone else may very well have written about the topic you’re writing about before—but you’ve never written about it before, and you have a unique perspective on it, that would be worth sharing with the world in writing.
- First Place: $1,000
- Second Place: $500
- Third Place: $300
Prizes will be determined at my discretion, but I will likely consult others for their opinion.
Many thanks to Brent Baumgartner for funding this project, and for his encouragement and support in making this contest possible. Additional thanks to Benjamin Pence for supplying the funds for a third prize.
What can I do to help?
If you are a writer, we would love to have you write an essay and submit it to this contest!
Please share this contest with any writers you know who might be interested in submitting a piece.
If you would like to see more essays in this genre, we welcome additional contributions to the prize pool. Additional funds will create additional prizes and increase the overall prize amount.