An Invitation to Write

Guest post by Exponent II managing editor Emily Gray.

May is my writing month. It’s the magical few weeks that my children are still in school but the college students I teach have left for the summer. I drop the kids off in the morning then head to my quiet office where I can lose myself in all the writing projects that have been put off for two semesters. I feel lucky to have this kind of extended writing time, even

Exponent-Logo_Final_wif it is only once a year. Some of my colleagues have the self-discipline to get up at 5:00am to get in a few hours of writing before the necessities of work and family begin to intrude. Emma Lou Thayne once explained that she wrote most of her poetry between midnight and 2:00am while her kids were asleep. Can you imagine? As one who values sleep over productivity, I have to make do with May and whatever solitude I can snatch between classes, meetings and carpools during the rest of the year.

Since writing has always been a solitary experience for me, I was surprised to hear writing coach Helen Sword speak recently about the importance of social connectedness for writers. At first this made no sense. I’ve been trying to avoid social connectedness so I can write! I silence my phone, turn on the white noise machine, set limits on my computer so I can’t check Facebook and Instagram, and try to pretend I am the only person in the universe. But I’ve gradually come to realize that Sword is right. Good writing means connecting with people.  As I write, I’m connecting with my subjects – this particular May, it’s a group of seventeenth-century Lutherans having to figure out how to get along with their Catholic neighbors. I’m connecting with my audience: my colleagues and students who will learn something new about religious toleration after reading my essay. Most importantly, I’m connecting with myself, figuring out what it is inside me that thinks this story is so important to tell that I am giving it my entire, precious month of May.

What story is inside you, waiting to be told? Here’s an opportunity to find some time and connect with your Mormon sisters by contributing a personal essay, short story, piece of art, or poem to Exponent II magazine. You don’t need a month of solitude. You don’t even have to be a great writer. Exponent II will link you up with one of our amazing author-editors who will work with you (social connection!) until the words on the page convey the story you want to tell.

Submission deadline for the Fall 2019 issue of Exponent II magazine is July 1st. Topic is open. Send art, poetry, or writing of 700-2400 words to exponentiieditor AT gmail DOT com.


  1. I am amazed at the generous offer of free editing help and being able to publish something, especially since our author-editors are particularly kind and astute in my experience…it’s scary to write, and these women are careful and helpful in this process. I can’t wait to see what people submit!

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