The first post I ever submitted to YeahWrite* – a whopping five years ago – was an essay about crackers. Basically, I went on for a zillion words (no limit back then, and trust me, that was not a good thing) about how I had these crackers that I wanted everyone to like but no one did so we threw them out and everyone was happy because we never had to see the crackers again. It came off as relatable since most of us with kids have had that moment where we bought some healthy thing that our kid wouldn’t eat, and then we gave them up trying.
The problem with it (well, one problem anyway) is that it’s not actually about crackers. I mean, it is on the surface. And I called it “Just Crackers,” so I can see how people really thought it was about me and the crackers. Here’s the problem: it wasn’t actually about crackers. It’s actually about a now former coworker who had just announced her resignation. Like the crackers in the story, I was relieved I’d never have to see her again because I didn’t like her.
At the time, I was a little bent out of shape that no one asked me what it was really about. No one got my hints, and no one picked up on the fact that it was a (terrible) metaphor for a story I couldn’t tell, even though I said that in the beginning. Also, no one knew me, and no one cared about my vague-posted story. I tried to be clever and cute, but it all mostly backfired.
Today’s lessons: Make sure your metaphors work. Make your writing interesting. Don’t try to be clever and cute and then get upset when everyone misses the point. Write so that your readers can relate and so that they care. And don’t vague-post, because that’s annoying.
*I linked to the post, but read it at your own risk. It’s fairly terrible and there’s also a typo I probably will not have gotten around to fixing yet.
Nonfiction Know-How: Emotional Misuse
As essayists, we like to give our readers All The Feels. But sometimes too many feels can get in the way of the reads. Learn how to balance the emotions in your writing to produce more complete and accessible works and to make strong emotion stand out in this month’s Nonfiction Know-How.
How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:
Basic YeahWrite 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; and
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…
About the author:
Michelle submitted her first entry to YeahWrite in March 2012 and they haven’t been able to get rid of her since. After nearly 20 years in the insurance/employee benefits industry, she decided to give it all up to pursue writing full time. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post and xoJane, as well as several local sites near her northern NJ home. She blogs at Michelle Longo.