Personal essay writing is all the rage right now. Every major publication online seems to have a “Life” or “Relationships” section. Some sites are entirely dedicated to narrative, first person stories (I’m looking at you, xoJane.com).
Writing about your own experiences can be a valuable exercise in turning observations into something meaningful. But everyone knows that sharing anything personal (let alone controversial) on the Internet can result in some ugly feedback:
If you publish your essay online, especially in a vociferous blogging community, be prepared for anything. I have been called irresponsible, a bully, mean-spirited, lazy and more. I have also been praised for my candor, my writing style and my sense of humor. Any time you publish your work, you open yourself up to criticism, but with the personal essay, criticism can cut deeper because it’s in response to your personal life. Learning how to cope with negative feedback is a constant practice, says Carinn Jade, blogger at Welcome To Motherhood. “I think 97 percent of my comments have been negative. If I’ve written a piece that’s a real trigger for me, I’ll really try not to read the comments.”
To get more tips on writing a great personal essay, read: You Life in 1,000 Words: The Craft Of Personal Essays.
— Aneya Fernando
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