So many of us writers struggle with health issues, and some of those issues can even prevent us from writing as much as we’d like. We take handfuls of pills every day, shots, endure chronic pain, and still we write, no matter how much or how little.
We have considered writing about our diagnoses or ongoing struggle with an illness but it’s easy to get discouraged when many health magazines want articles on preventative health, fitness, and eating right. That won’t work with those of us already in the throes of a disease. But, there are avenues that seek to publish articles and essays about your particular health situation and they will pay you to open up to their readers. And, your words could end up helping someone who is struggling with the same illness.
You and Me Medical Magazine is looking for non-fiction articles from a first-person perspective about dealing with all medical issues, whether it’s life-threatening or chronic. The length is 1,000-2,500 words. The pay differs, but is usually around four to five cents a word. They don’t want a long essay on every aspect of your illness. It’s best to focus on one situation or experience involving your illness.
Women’s Day is interested in long-form narrative pieces that focus on health topics that affect middle-aged women such as mental illness, fibromyalgia, asthma, headaches, allergies, and cancer. They do want stories to have a hopeful note. While there is no mention of length or payment amount at the site, The Published Parent published the guidelines from July 2019 which indicated the essays needed to be 650 words, and the payment was $2,000. The caveat is that you must have previously been published in national magazines to be considered.
If you struggle with anxiety, then the Anxiety Foundation is looking for articles of at least 550 words, and they pay $50. You can write about personal experience, or provide an informational article that includes research.
For those of you who have overcome a significant medical issues, or undergone a medical first, Good Housekeeping is looking for essays. They don’t mention pay, but a post at MediaBistro includes more information, and lists the rate of pay at $2.00 per word for 1,000-2,000 words. Submissions are required to be sent via regular mail rather than email.
If you’re diabetic then, undoubtedly, you’ve done a lot of research, or have it at your fingertips. Diabetes Self-Management is interested in articles that apply to the day-to-day life of the diabetic. They must be clear and useful. No personal experiences are accepted and they’re not interested in profiles or research breakthroughs. Article length should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words. The pay rate isn’t mentioned.
A&U Magazine, which is a national non-profit HIV/AIDS magazine, is interested in articles about “AIDS-related advocacy, treatment and care, community-based organizations and campaigns, and artists and creative writers responding to the pandemic.” They are also interested in reviews of films, theater, and books as well as viewpoint essays. Lengths vary depending on what you’re interested in submitting, and the pay scale is available upon request.
Whatever your health issue is, there is, most likely, a publication looking for essays or articles about it, or even a blog seeking guest posts. Some of the larger magazines may require previous health writing. So, start with the smaller publications or blogs to build your health-writing portfolio.
As well as being a published author of fiction, Rachel is also a nonfiction writer. She has written for The Writer, The Writers’ Journal, Rooted in Rights, Startrek.com, and the New York Times (essay due for publication in late 2020) as well as many others. She is also a writing instructor at Women on Writing and a contributor to Hidden Remote.
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