Blurring the lines between the academic and our many publics.
Erraticus primarily publishes original long-form and short-form essays that blur the lines between the academic and our many publics, remaining intellectually rigorous and emotionally prescient. While many of our essays are written by academics, they are intended for a more general audience and include contributions from first-time writers and voices from a variety of educational backgrounds.
An online publication focused on human flourishing, we take a pragmatic approach to ideas. We care about ideas that help us to live well together, focusing on their practical consequences. We want to engage with ideas that work, minimizing the frequent fruitlessness that stems from barren dichotomies, rigid ideologies, and detached theorizing.
Specifics for Exceptional Submissions
Accepted submissions tend to fit into one of four categories; craft something based on a book you’ve written or research you’ve conducted; use your expertise to interpret a recent trend or news event; offer a solution to a common concern or problem; share a personal experience that is likely to interest many people.
When crafting your submission, write as if you were speaking to somebody who would be engaged by an undergraduate honors program. Our audience is intelligent and tends to be well-read but do not presume that they are knowledgeable about the key figures, concepts, or intellectual history related to your particular topic. You are encouraged to draw from contemporary, peer-reviewed scholarship and established experts. Nonetheless, be sure to explain what may not be familiar to less initiated audiences.
We publish short-form pieces (“Ideas”), which range from 800-1500 words, and long-form pieces (“Essays”), which can be up to 3000 words. Essays tend to address more complex topics or include more narrative-driven content. Ideas lean toward a brief introduction of a topic or consider limited aspects of it. We accept longer submissions, should we deem the subject matter justifies it.
In addition to short-form and long-form pieces, we also publish poetry.
Submit essays and poetry to firstname.lastname@example.org in either MS Word format or Google docs, with “New Submission, [Your Name]” as the subject line. Please include a summary (a sentence or two) explaining the main idea of the submission and a brief bio (headshot optional).
We’ll acknowledge receipt of submissions usually within 48 hours. If you do not hear from our editorial team after a few days, please feel free to offer it to another publication.
Lastly, we consider pieces that have already been published elsewhere, particularly those that have been modified to align with our standards.
Read some of the essays that embody the pragmatic spirit of Erraticus.
Erraticus Style Guide
We lean heavily on the Chicago Manual of Style for guidance with a few of our own wrinkles. In addition to our own style standards, included below are common instances highlighted for the convenience of potential submissions.
No substantial changes will be made to your submission without your consultation. Should you want to pitch an idea or discuss a potential essay, you can reach out to our editorial team at email@example.com.
Centuries are spelled out and lowercase.
- The early twentieth-century Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno thought he held the answer.
- It seems timely that we reconsider the pragmatic theory of truth and its role in one of the most influential philosophies of the twentieth century: existentialism.
Ellipses that cut off the end of a sentence use four periods while those that remove text mid-sentence use three periods.
- I concluded that I do not “believe the forests and mountains, prairies and deserts hum with some special quality of spirituality . . . .”
- There are, in fact, people who appear to think only with the brain . . . while others think with all the body and soul, with the blood, with the marrow of the bones, with the heart, with the lungs, with the belly, with the life.
Em dashes do not have spaces before or after them. They are primarily used to add emphasis. When aiming to put emphasis on the end of a sentence, use an em dash rather than a colon.
- Fire prevention is thus an abnormal departure from the natural state of active burns—fire medicine.
- Coincidentally, the Greek word “pharmakon”—coined to reflect the dual nature of poison/medicine—also means “scapegoat.”
As with submission titles, we appreciate an author’s input as to what type of imagery they think would be an ideal fit for their submission. Although we recommend you include some suggestions, we will use our best judgment to select an appropriate featured image.
When hyperlinking, keep the hyperlinked text to a minimum and, with discretion, try to only use the relevant verb.
- In that essay, he argues for a strong connection between pragmatism and existentialism when it comes to a theory of truth.
We italicize words to put special emphasis on them, for rhetorical purposes or to denote the word may not be part of standard English.
- With her pre-experience, Mary would have mastered all the algorithms as to how a severe electric shock affects the human nervous system.
- This is captured by the concept of e pluribus unum.
The titles of films and books are to be italicized while essays are bracketed by double quotes.
- In Heidegger’s monumental 1927 work Being and Time, he famously analyzes how meaning arises within a systematic web of references that I can navigate sensibly in my everyday dealings.
- As he suggests in “Looking Backwards from the Year 2096,” Rorty believes that literature will play a key role in fostering sympathy among American citizens, thus bringing about political transformation.
Numbers are spelled out when ten or less. We write out “percent” rather than employ the “%” symbol.
When citing an essay, film, or book, its publication year must be included as follows:
- In The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), William James proposes a very broad conception of religion that is less interested in theology or religious history and more concerned with the subjective encounters people have when they consider themselves to be standing in relation to the Divine.
- As John Dewey wrote in 1938, “The assertion that human nature cannot be changed is heard when social changes are urged as reforms and improvements of existing conditions.”
When using quotation marks, we use double quotes for cited texts or to draw attention to the specific spelling of a word or concept. We use single quotes when our quoted material is quoting somebody else.
- “It is as if only after a person has been given everything,” writes Kaag, “that one has the chance to realize that everything might never be enough to really matter.”
- “Pragmatism, on the other hand, asks its usual question. ‘Grant an idea or belief to be true,’ it says, ‘what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone’s actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth’s cash-value in experiential terms?’”
- When she refers to “community” here, she implies the social nature of truth-making.
Instead of using footnotes or a bibliography, integrate all of your sources directly into the body of the text, citing the source or hyperlinking to it. To keep the prose relatively unencumbered, we do not include page numbers.
- In 1921 Unamuno published The Tragic Sense of Life, an existentialist treatise exploring what causes us to despair.
- This seems like a worthwhile alternative to what he calls “America’s broken bargaining tables.”
While personal essays can get by without having section headings to help break up or organize the text, short-form and long-form essays that are more logically oriented need to be broken into sections with headings. This makes the essays more readable. It can also benefit personal essays by giving them page breaks rather than section headings. This gives readers a pause without adding something intrusive.
Shorter titles are a positive in that they are easily remembered but they dissuade readers because of their vagueness; longer titles pull in readers because of their specificity but recalling them as a reader can be a challenge.
There are a variety of titles that “work” and we like to diversify which styles we use. We want to avoid titles that are “clickbaity” or hyperbolic. Aim for honest and provocative. While we take an author’s perspective into consideration, as is the publishing convention, our editorial team maintains discretion as to the final title of the submission.