“You have to be in it to win it!”
One of the most satisfying experiences for me as a writer is sharing the ups and downs of the writing life with my fellow scribes. And when one of us has a big moment — it’s so exciting and inspiring! That’s exactly how I felt when Wendy Giman, a wonderful writer and friend, sent me the link to a personal essay she’d written that was featured on Yahoo! What an achievement!
Wendy has been exploring the personal essay format for a while and she has a number of them in the works. Finding her sea legs in this format has been challenging: an essay of this type has to balance intimacy and universality, revelation and self-discovery. By cultivating her own unique style, Wendy is beginning to gain exposure. In thinking about her first foray into this form, I believe four factors contributed to her success:
She went big: Wendy chose a subject that many of us have struggled with — one with a universal ring to it: the emotional aspects of eating. Tackling a topic like this from a personal perspective is writing dangerously — it takes skill and courage. Wendy brought both to her story.
She dug deep: In order to make an essay like this work, it has to strike a chord with readers — they have to see their own personal battles mirrored in the author’s. The story has to feel authentic and even raw. And it has to focus on what matters most to all of us: the craving to be loved and appreciated, the inner struggle to find and cherish our self-worth, the price to be paid for fraught relationships and personal freedom.
She went back in: Getting the stuff of emotional turmoil down on paper can be tough, but finding the objectivity to carve a narrative out of it can be even tougher. Shifting from writer to editor is tricky, yet it’s the only way to craft a polished piece. We all know that writing is really rewriting, but bringing this incisive skill to bear on a topic that hits your emotional hot buttons demands a lot of psychic energy.
She went out: Once she’d gotten her feelings down on paper and shaped them into a story, Wendy pushed beyond her comfort zone and found a channel to share her story with a huge audience via Yahoo! Now she has a terrific credential and a platform to build on as she continues to develop as a writer.
Going big, digging deep, being willing to revise, and putting our work out into the world — these are steps we can all take on our own writing journey. Here’s the link to “Fat Was My Friend Until I Outgrew It: https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/fat-was-my-friend-until-i-outgrew-it-132951527.html. Bravo, Wendy — write on!