1. What is Work Stew?

Work Stew is a collection of original essays and in-depth interviews. All revolve around the subject of work, but the various essay contributors and podcast guests take very different tacks as they discuss what they do. The result is a mishmash of thoughts and stories. The hope is that something in this stew will speak to those who are stewing. That a conversation will tumble out. And that some combination of information and inspiration might be found in the mix.

2. Why essays? Why not tweets or status updates?

Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t figure out how to distill my thoughts about a complex subject like work into 140 characters. At the same time, another bound book—like Studs Terkel’s great Working or Po Bronson’s best-selling What Should I Do With My Life?—doesn’t seem right for our time either. Everything is changing so fast; it seems like any collection of essays about work needs to be continually evolving in order to remain relevant.

That said, I have nothing against Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Work Stew’s momentum to date has been powered primarily through these and other social media. For announcements of new content and other developments, please ‘like’ Work Stew’s Facebook page and/or follow along on Twitter.

3. The first few essays all mention children. Is this site supposed to be mainly for parents?

Not at all. By chance the first few essays were written by parents, but the end goal is to have as many essays and interviews as possible, featuring as diverse a group as possible: men and women of all ages, doing all kinds of jobs, in all parts of the world. Some will be parents; some will not. Some will be in relationships; some will not. The broader the collection, the more likely that someone looking for a piece that resonates will find what they’re seeking.

4. How do I submit an essay?

PLEASE NOTE: As of May 15, 2017, Work Stew is closed to submissions.

Before the site was closed, submissions instructions were as follows:
To submit an essay, or to suggest an interview subject for the Work Stew podcast, please write to Essay submissions should include a title and the byline you would like to use (see Question #6). The essay itself, which can be sent either in the body of an email or as a Word attachment, should be somewhere around 1,000 words.

5. What exactly should I write about?

That is largely up to you. As long as your essay centers in some significant way on the subject of work, it will likely be a good fit for Work Stew. That said, here are some of the ‘prompts’ that some contributors are using to get started:

  • Why do you do the work you do?
  • How do you feel about the work you do?
  • When you find yourself pondering your work life, what do you end up thinking about the most?

6. Do I have to use my real name?

No. Writing honestly about work is a very tricky proposition for most people, so feel free to use a pen name if that would make things easier. That said, many of the people who are currently writing essays for Work Stew are choosing to use their real names. Bottom line: it’s entirely up to you.

7. How frequently will new content be added to the collection?

It’s hard to say. I don’t pay for essays—more on that here—which naturally limits the pool of writers who will choose to spend time on a submission. So, we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Updated by Kate Gace Walton, May 2017

  1. Loved it, Kate. What a novel way to bring like-minded people together. Essay contributors welcomed from all over the world?

  2. Ah, getting excited at the prospect of new motivations for writing. A few of my friends gather over at for weekly fiction prompts… Now I believe I will chew on the idea of work for a bit. Happy writing to all!

    • Great, Tara! Hope to hear from you soon. Just let me know if you have any questions. I usually publish new essays on Fridays–in fact, I’m editing tomorrow’s piece right now. –Kate

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