Writing a personal essay can be a gut wrenching experience. As Erica Manfred stated in her article entitled, Show Your Personal Side With an Essay, published in the April issue of The Writer, “writing personal essays means you must be willing to really look within and write down what you see.” This takes a strong person, depending on the opinion or experience you are writing about.
You should always write what you know. Erica suggests you “write about the very thing that is hardest to admit about yourself, that is the one that’s likely to get published.”
Ms. Manfred quotes, Susan Shapiro, who teaches essay writing in New York City, as stating that “editors are looking for essays that are deeply moving, not light and breezy.”
Well, all this information may mean I need to curtail any efforts I’m making in composing a personal essay. I’m not good at opening a vein and letting it bleed and I like to write more on a humorous side…I can really relate more to light and breezy than deeply moving.
For those brave souls out there, who would like to give it a stab, the good news is, Erica states, “it is easier to break into markets with an essay than a news story.” Also the dreaded query letter isn’t normally required when submitting an essay. You send your finished essay to an editor and it’s either accepted or rejected.
It is a little more difficult these days to place an essay, but then isn’t everything getting harder? You will need to have patience and perseverance to succeed.
Now go grab those straight razors and let the bleeding begin. Good luck and happy writing. (oops no, maybe not happy, that would defeat the purpose)