It’s Not You, It’s Them
Blogging sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s seen by some as a navel-gazing cry for attention, a pathetic way of reaching out and saying “I feel alone” or “I did this” without regard for the reader.
This month in our nonfiction know-how, yeah write is turning this notion of blogging on its head. Because while bloggers can easily fall victim to navel-gazing, the best in personal essay is about shared experience and emotional connection. As Rowan stated in her excellent opener and tutorial this week (go read it here and come right back), rather than merely looking inward and saying “I’m alone” when crafting personal essays, bloggers should instead be forming a narrative that reaches out to say “you’re not alone” to someone else. That recognition of our audience affects the way we tell stories, and makes all the difference between inward-looking and outward-sharing.
The best in personal essay is about this: shared experiences. Making the world feel a little bit smaller because something we’ve written affected a person who read it, so they felt a real emotional connection to you and your story.
As a writer, if you want your words to matter, this, then, is your task: Use your inner workings to connect with other people and give them attention. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Those are the essays that go viral because they strike a chord. And that chord is the beginning strains of a song that sings “yes, me too. I feel that way too and, because of what you wrote, I now feel less alone in my experience.”
Last month we talked a little about how to find the master class happening all around you; this month we’re going to put that idea into action. Take a minute to reread the nonfiction know-how post, because I’ll be spending January talking about it: How you can transform your personal experiences into universal ones through narrowing down your literary conflict, advancing your plot thoughtfully and sparingly, removing thoughts and feelings that read like a diary, focusing on scene and action, trusting your readers to fill in the blanks and, above all, having the courage to share bold truths.
So watch this space, as well as our Sunday openers and Rowan’s Friday round-ups, as we take you on a journey this month toward blogging that matters.
Yeah write super challenge
Ready to kick off the new year with a brand new super challenge? So are we! Stay tuned in the coming days for all the details concerning super challenge #3, and make sure you sign up for our email blast so you don’t miss out on any announcements.
This month’s nonfiction know-how is learning the difference between navelgazing and reaching outward. That is, as storytellers we’re at our finest when it’s not about us, it’s about the reader. So when you write an introspective post, think about saying instead of “am I the only one who feels like this,” you should be saying “I feel like this too, you are not alone.” Learn more from Rowan here.
Want more info?
Is this your first time here? Check out Sunday’s post which kicked off the week here at yeah write. Our email subscribers can also join us in the yeah write coffeehouse at its home on Facebook. If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.
Did you happen to end up here because you suddenly saw yeah write in your stats? Sometimes members of our community spot excellent writing and they send those posts on over to us. We hope you don’t mind. Take a look around and get to know our community. We’re sure you’ll be happy here.
How to submit and fully participate in the challenge
Basic yeah write guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.
1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog
Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.
Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…