An essay I wrote about struggling with my body image got accepted for an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to be published later this year!
The essay was one of those pieces of writing that came out quickly. I thought about it in the airport and during my plane ride to see my writing buddies in Canada last summer, and then when I sat down to write it was like the words and paragraphs were already there. The two writers I was with read and critiqued it, and with some minor edits, I sent it out the door. Lo and Behold, it got picked up! If only all writing/publishing were that easy, huh?
But now that I know it's going to be Out There., I'm freaking out a little. I reread the essay and frankly, I don't remember being so candid! Of course, it's that honesty that makes an essay worth reading. But man, do I feel naked knowing that other people are going to know all the crazy things I've thought about my body over the years.
It's a good lesson--In journalism/marketing writing, you hear all the time, "Know your audience" and "Write for your audience." In creative writing, I think the opposite is true. Don't think of your audience at all. Write for yourself, write your truth.
Otherwise, if you're anything like me, you just might take out the most interesting bits because they don't put you in the best light (or, to stick with the body image theme, they make you look fat). But it's those private bits that make an essay (or poem or story...)good and make people able to relate to it.
Exposing those bits, of course, is a very scary thing. But, as Elanor Roosevelt advised, "Do one thing every day that scares you."