Much like processing wool into cloth, writing articles and patterns is a journey of many steps and many months. This process, which for me often begins as a pile of raw locks and finishes as a magazine that arrives in my mailbox, never ceases to amaze. Spin Off is always looking for members of our worldwide fiber community to contribute—what would you like to share?
I was a Spin Off reader long before I ever considered writing for the magazine. Former editor Amy Clarke Moore gave me a nudge while we were chatting at a spinning event about some of the small flocks I had worked with as a farm intern. “You should write for us,” she said. The next week, I nervously sent her an article proposal. My first article, “Spinning Locally,” appeared in Spin Off Winter 2007, which arrived in my mailbox about a year later.
Spin Off has a long history of helping us transform our passion and skill with fibers into words. Working with Amy and current editor Anne Merrow over the last decade has made me a better writer, helped me think more deeply about my own spinning, and helped me contribute to my community. If you have never submitted a proposal before, here are a few things to think about:
Find Your Voice
Everyone has a unique story and approach to fiber arts. Think about what you contribute to your guild or online fiber conversations. Is there a topic you often find yourself giving advice about, or a fibery plant or animal that you wish more people understood? Are you a scientist, an artist, or both? Let your motivations and interests show in your writing.
After you think of a topic that you would like to write about (the Submission Calls always have great concepts to get you started), try to develop some ideas for articles that you would like to share. For example, take: wool combs. Maybe you adore Russian pPaddle combs or have strong feelings about single-pitch Viking combs. Do you have a trick for reducing combing waste?
This, I have found, is the most important aspect of writing for magazines. Editors not only have a full understanding of how all the articles and patterns fit within each issue, but for past and future issues. An editor might suggest fine-tuning your topic, lengthening or shortening the piece, or even move your article to a different issue. This feedback is to help your article succeed and is a good thing.
Do you have an idea to submit, questions about writing for Spin Off, or the spinning section of the website? Find our current Call for Submissions on our website.
Published October 17, 2017; updated January 20, 2021.