Abilities Magazine passes on my best writing yet

I was contacted over the summer by Abilities magazine to contribute an article to their upcoming issue, due out very soon.  The editor thought I might provide a good counterpoint to their usual inspirational stories – I am, after all, on record saying that I have found inspirational stories depressing.  I was impressed that they reached out to me and thought it would be a great opportunity for their readers to hear another perspective. We wrote back and forth a few times to hammer out an outline, and I produced a 1000-word article (1082, to be exact) that I thought really hit the mark. The editor seemed satisfied; I was thanked for my submission, then they asked me to send some photos.

Yesterday, I received a polite note saying they would not be running it after all.  There was disagreement internally as to whether or not my article fit their mandate.  When I asked for specifics, the editor indicated that there were several factors, including the suggestion they were looking for the more “empowering aspect of the story”.

C’est la vie, although too bad their readers will miss out.  It’s a good one!


I’m going to hold on to the article another day or two before I post it here.  Maybe I’ll submit it somewhere else. (Hey if you’re a publisher and want a great article about how inspirational stories don’t always resonate, get in touch!)


Added afterwards: Hey publisher, nevermind… here it is!




  1. WHile I really want to read it … I know what a good writier you are and suggest you try to send it elsewhere first!!!!! Salon? some radical mom kind of place, I don’t know… where are those radical disability places that speak truth, the whole truth, not just one part of it? Anyways. I WANT to read it, but would be content to wait if you could find a wider audience. Hey, why not mainstream? Why not G&M or other opinion places. What does the Walrus have?

  2. Thanks for the ideas Nancy! Truth is I started this blog (and self-published my book) so that I didn’t have to subject myself to someone else’s editorial whims :) Abilities initiated the contact, but I guess I wasn’t toeing the party line. I have sent material to both Salon and Walrus in the past but haven’t been persistent. Thanks for the encouragement! Perhaps will try again.

  3. That’s a bummer…honestly, I’ve had a piece ‘killed’ before (such a terrible term for it) and it felt like crap at the time..but then with time I thought – their loss. Writing is SO personal.

    Chatelaine turned down my story idea about pre-natal testing, but then it was picked up by the Globe – so you never know what may happen to your piece – maybe something even better.

  4. Hi Sue – yes, they’re giving me a ‘kill fee’ :) Better than nothing! I do appreciate that they chose not to run it rather than try to talk me into something different. I’ll send it around this weekend and see what happens…

  5. Wow. I’m really surprised. They came to you looking for that angle and you provided it. It’s interesting the politics surrounding disability! Is your piece about why inspirational stories are very one-dimensional and don’t usually convey the whole picture of a person’s/family’s experience? Or is your story more a personal one related to raising Owen? I have missed your writing recently and I can’t wait to read it!

  6. The piece is specific to me, and anecdotal. They said (paraphrasing) they were more interested in hearing about the happy times, what was successful and how I learned to find peace… I’ll let someone else write that one :)

    So maybe it’s a bit silly that I’ve described this episode without sharing the article! I’ll post it tomorrow and someone can reprint it if they want it…

  7. I’m on pins and needles waiting to read it! I’m always interested in how you process things and the insights/perspective you bring.

  8. I love the way you found peace! And more need to hear it. I am not broken! I am not broken! I am a part of the diversity of the human race!!!! (hmmm can’t remember the rest, but someone said it!) All the therapy in the world means fixing, right? So often, when my daughter was little we consciously kept our eye on what our goals were for her … which involved, mostly, friends, belonging, joy… in her own true nature. Which then led us to shed therapy for just plain dancing in the livingroom or the playground.

  9. I ended up reading the article on Mamasource-I loved the incredible combination of love, passion, fortitude, and realism which you brought together in only 1000 words. I felt incredibly uplifted and revitalized by your words, and I really appreciate that you shared your vision and your experience with moms and dads everywhere. Thanks so very,very much. I hesitate to cast aspersions, but what exactly is the problem with Abilities magazine?

  10. Hi, I stumbled on this old post. I’m a freelance writer, I also use a wheelchair (paraplegia, T8), and though I don’t usually write about disability issues, I’ve thought about sending something to Abilities. My question is, did they pay you anything for your effort? After all, you didn’t solicit them, they came to you asking for your work; you wrote it, and they rejected it. If they then gave you nothing for your effort they are not a publication I want to write for.

    • Hi there – funny you should ask! I just received their ‘kill fee’ cheque a couple of week ago. It was half what they offered for the commissioned article, which I thought was fair enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *