Writing for the COIN

Who writes the COIN?

You do. COIN stories are always welcome. The content of the COIN is written solely by sober members of AA. Without your contributions, the first nine pages of the COIN would be empty.

What is the schedule of topics for the COIN?

The schedule is determined by the months of the year. The first month of the year, January, is always about the first step/first tradition. The second month of the year, February, is always about the second step/second tradition, and so on. Stories about the 12 Concepts for the World Service are also welcome, using this same schedule.

Holidays or historic events may influence a topic. For instance, relationships and romance are typical February subjects because of Valentine’s Day. The November topic is always gratitude because Thanksgiving is in November. June is the month AA was founded. Other special topics may be announced a month or two ahead of time.

When is the COIN deadline?

The deadline varies from month to month depending on holidays and Central Office hours. If you e-mail your story to [email protected] by the 15th of the month, it will usually be in time for the next month’s issue. Exceptions are November and December.

Who produces the COIN?

Central Office staff, along with a volunteer editor and graphic designer, produces the COIN. A small print run of several hundred draft copies for the month is available at the Intergroup business meeting on the first Wednesday of the month. The print run is completed the next day. Mailing takes place two days after the Intergroup meeting. Volunteers are needed every month to help fold the COIN and prepare it for bulk mailing.

What should I write about?

Anything related to your personal experience in sobriety is an appropriate topic for a COIN story. Write in the first person (use “I” statements) to avoid a scolding or admonishing tone. You may write about your own beliefs and opinions as long as you don’t insult others for having different beliefs. (For example: “I believe this and anyone who doesn’t believe this is not really sober.”) Please respect the anonymity of other members in your writing. Avoid personally identifying details. (For example, “A woman I know at a noon meeting in San Jose who wears an eye patch and always has a parrot on her shoulder told me….”)

If you hear something at a meeting that makes you see things in a different light, write about it. If you’ve stayed sober through a difficult experience, write about it. If there’s something you really like about a particular meeting, write about it. If you have experience, strength and hope to share, write about it.

How long should my story be?

A good story length is 500 words to start. Stories longer than 900 words will be edited for length. A long story is like a long share at a meeting: it takes up space that could be used to give other people an opportunity to share.

What about photos and art?

Photos and art are welcome. The COIN is currently printed in black and white. Think about whether the art you submit will look good in black and white.

Stories and art are published at the discretion of the editor and the Central Office executive director. Publishing decisions are made with the 12 traditions in mind.

Send your contributions to [email protected].