Thursday, January 16, 2014

5 ways you know your personal essay is personal enough

Writer Abroad's fear of being too personal soon turned to joy
Writer Abroad has always loved writing personal essays. But she’s also always struggled with how personal to make them. In fact, it took her six years, nine months, and 14 days (approximately) to find the right amount of reveal.

So here’s a quick answer for those of you wondering how personal you should be: More than you want to be.

More specifically, here’s how you know if you’ve made your essay personal enough or not:
  1. Your piece says something the mainstream doesn’t usually say.
  2. When your essay is accepted for publication, you’re joyful—but also scared.
  3. The day of publication you are extra edgy.
  4. The day of publication your husband tells you that you are hormonal.
  5. When you first see it published, you think you shouldn’t have submitted it.

Congratulations. Your piece will be a success because you have PES (Personal Essay Syndrome).

Writer Abroad speaks from experience. On Monday, her Learning to Love Motherhood essay, which Writer Abroad considers her most “naked” piece ever, was published in Brain, Child Magazine. And because her essay was about her struggle to accept motherhood in a world where people are supposed to fall instantly in love with their infants, she was nervous about how people would react to it.

Anyway, after the publication of the piece on Monday, a funny thing happened: all the people that Writer Abroad was scared to reveal herself to (including her boss—somehow he even read the piece…) didn’t judge her on any part of it—the only thing they had for her now? A new respect for her honesty and bravery. Now that was something to love about being personal (along with her essay’s 89 likes on Brain, Child’s Facebook page­…but who’s counting?).

64 comments:

  1. GREAT piece, Chantal. I too have struggled with putting "myself" out there (hence the pen name on my blog). It is scary but if you have written your piece with integrity then shoot-- who cares what anyone might think about it?

    And as an aside... I think any parent can relate to your "Learning to Love Motherhood" essay. I used to glamorize babyhood before I had kids, but by the time I had my second I was literally counting down the days until he turned one and I knew things got "better". Isn't that terrible?

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    1. I agree with you L.shanna. Brilliant ways discuss here about personal essay is personal enough. I am writer and work at Personal Statement Folks. As a writer, I know the easiest way to write a personal essay is to use the standard form like an introductory paragraph followed by three paragraphs outlining three main points and a final summary paragraph. But instead of just blathering about yourself, describe vivid scenes and what they mean to you

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    2. Interesting advice on Personal Essay Syndrome for students who are also struggling for help with nursing dissertation writing or essay to their university exams. Your six years of experience will help so many people for so many years. Your efforts will be gone viral and keep sharing suck kind of content which is helpful to all.

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    5. Personal essay writing is much dissimilar from other educational essay writings. In personal essay, students are required to deliver their own information about quality and faintness that they have. The aim of any personal essay is to offer self-information which helps tutors compare with that of my student, who are learning with me at assignment help folks - http://www.assignmenthelpfolks.com/, Personal essay writing is therefore interesting in that one should be in a location to come up with quality materials and a good format of the essay.

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  2. Thanks, L. Shanna. I agree, I think this piece taught me that as long as something is written with honesty, there's nothing to worry about.

    Yeah, the first year with a baby is really tough, isn't it? I don't think anyone can understand how hard it is unless they've had their own.

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  3. It was a great piece. Congratulations again!

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  4. Chantal, this is a fantastic post. Everything you say is right on the mark. What a great list for knowing if you're being personal enough. I'm going to have to share it.

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  5. Thanks, Shalini & John!

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