Calling All Blind Writers

slate and stylus

Blind writers: LightHouse wants to publish you!

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco is putting out an official call for submissions. We are in search of the best and brightest writers who are blind or have low vision, to contribute stories for publication on a paid, freelance basis.

We want to hear first-person stories not merely about blindness, but about what it takes to survive and strive as a human. We want to establish a new venue for exploring direct experiences surrounding the often misunderstood and under-appreciated aspects of blindness. Ultimately, we aim to be the most contemporary, honest and passionate source for people to learn about blindness from those who walk our walk.

We will consider submissions from both novice and professional authors. Whether you have a page ripped from your personal journal or a rejection from a literary journal, we’re open to all styles and subject matter. The most important thing is that it’s honest, unafraid, and rooted in an experience of visual impairment.

What We’re Looking For

We seek to publish dynamic personal essays, memoirist reflections, travel writing, incisive commentary, specific advice, funny or useful lists, arts writing, general humor, insightful analysis, new ideas and anything else with verve and honesty.

Story ideas can be just that — an idea. You don’t need to send us a finished product or a fully-formed narrative; we’re happy to work with you to get you there, in fact we’d prefer the process to be a collaboration from start to finish. That said, submissions can come in the form of a completed document, a brief pitch, or just a friendly introduction and statement of interest. Once we feel confident that you have something to say, we’ll work closely with you to shape it into a great piece of writing.

What We’re Not Looking For

We don’t have much interest in political rants, takedown pieces, sob stories, brand promotion, medical diaries, or extraneous embitterment. The purpose of this new direction for the LightHouse Blog is to highlight talent and elevate voices. We seek to build a strong and lasting support structure, and in order to do that we must celebrate fresh viewpoints and positive representations as much as possible.

We also understand that sometimes writing about blindness — or anything personal, for that matter — can be very demanding. It can dredge up deep and painful memories or confusing emotions. We encourage writers not to run away from those emotions or conflicts. Rather, explore them with a clear head and conscience; write it down, and then show us what you’ve written.

Priorites and Policies

We seek first and foremost to publish writers who are blind or visually impaired, with an emphasis stories based in California and the west coast. That said, we are open to any and all writers who would like us to consider a submission.

Submissions will be edited by Will Butler, who has written about his own eyesight in essays such as “The Mark of Cane” (New York Times), “Blind at South by Southwest” (VICE), and “In Blind Judgment” (The Toast).

We pay $100 for essays published on our blog, with payment issued upon publication. To negotiate for particularly long or ambitious pieces, you’ll need to talk with our editors on a story-by-story basis.

We can’t wait to read your work.

Email all submissions to

wbutler@lighthouse-sf.org

with “Pitch” in the subject line

questions: (415) 694-7309

Other Examples of Short Works by Blind Writers

“At the Intersection of Death and Disability” | Serena Olsen, Blind Broad Abroad, 2015

“A Friday Night of Bartending, Without the Lights” | Nicole C. Kear, NY Times, 2014

“How to be Helpful: 3 Snapshots from a Day” | Erin Lauridsen, Life in Braille, 2013

“Beauty and the Blind” | Georgina Kleege, UNESCO Courrier, 2001

“Sensory Overload at the Biggest Rattlesnake Roundup in the World” | Ryan Knighton, VICE, 2013

“The Barrier of the Visible Difference” | Kenneth Jernigan, Gray Pancakes and Gold Horses, 1998

16 thoughts on “Calling All Blind Writers”

    1. Hi Emily — we’ve spent the last month or so collecting and reviewing everyone’s stories, but we have not reached out to anyone yet about assignments. We actually received (and continue to receive) a ton of submissions, which is awesome, so it’s taking us a little while to decide with whom to proceed. Hopefully you’ll hear in the next couple weeks!

  1. Hi. I’m not blind or disabled, but I live with a blind father in Nigeria. Am I eligible to submit essays about my experiences and relationship with him? Please reply. Thanks.

    1. John —

      We can’t guarantee anything, but we’d gladly read and consider your submission!

  2. I was in a comma for two weeks caused by severe bout of meningitis, which left me partially blind, imbalanced and stone cold deaf. Although the first two conditions have improved, the light of hope is still yet to shine on deafness. That is the least of my worries. I celebrate this condition with a heart full of thanks giving. If I wasn’t deaf, I would have never known God’s purpose for my life. I’d love to share how God turned my tragedy to triumph. Please kindly let me know if this is within your editorial standard.

  3. Not quite sure what you want but I would love to do a day by day story called come see what I hear. I’m totally blind and very active. I play beep ball and I bowl . I’m self taught in just about every way. You can go on Google and look up modesto bee steve gass.thats me on the front page and most of page eight.thank you

  4. I happened across this and was curious.
    My adult son is blind and a writer and I was going to pass this along if this program is still accepting submissions.

  5. I was going to submit my story about going to the Illinois school for the visually impaired. Would that be allowed?

    1. We typically like stories to be a little more focused than that, but if you have a specific angle on your experience, we’d love to read it!

  6. Hello:)
    A quick question for you as I am not sure I got it right:P
    Can I submit even though I am not blind or disabled?
    In other words as long as it`s dynamic personal essays, memoirist reflections, travel writing, incisive commentary, specific advice, funny or useful lists, arts writing, general humor, insightful analysis, new ideas and anything else with verve and honesty, I can submit my essay?:)

    Thank you:) Cheers!:)

  7. Hello Lighthouse. I’m wondering if you are interested in essays/articles from Australian blind writers? If you are, please may I have a copy of the guidelines for submission. I enjoy reading your blog.
    Danae

  8. Hello there,
    I am inquiring about my eligibility to submit an article to your publication. I am not totally blind, but I am completely blind in one of my eyes. I have plenty to share about my life experience. So, am I eligible to write for your publication, or am I excluded because I’m not totally blind or legally blind in both eyes? Thank you for your time. Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Evan Mantell
    San Antonio, TX

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