As a graduate in English, my main goal is to get my writing out there and to be heard. But, what if I have nothing to be heard? Recently, I had been popping around different websites that were taking submissions and most of them were only taking freelanced submissions having to do with personal essays. You know, those essays with the craziest titles that seem click-bait, but they really happened to someone (in most cases, but sometimes they really are click-bait.) Having something insane and unique posted on a website like the HuffingtonPost of the New York Times would be a real career boost for someone who has never had anything published online, but to be accepted onto those platforms, I’d need an outstanding story that was beyond the minds of the average. To be completely honest, I don’t have any stories like that. I never traveled across the country to protest a cause. I never did any insane amount of drugs that led me somewhere. I never did anything out of the ordinary in my life. The only time i’d ever done anything out of the ordinary was when I dated multiple people online or when I jumped the fence into a private pool with a bunch of people I wasn’t even friends with. Beyond that, I’ve lived an average life. It got me wondering: to be a good writer, do you have to experience things beyond the average? Do you have to face tragedy everyday like the great writers? Do you have to be an alcoholic? Do you have to always be fighting for something? Do you always have to be struggling?
After sitting at my desk for hours and staring at a blank piece of paper of brainstormed ideas for a personal essay, I came to the conclusion that, perhaps I was too boring to write a personal essay that would blow the minds of thousands of readers. I was a privileged white woman living in the middle class. I was comfortable. I didn’t have any daily struggles other than some bouts of depression, weight struggles, and things that millions and millions of people go through everyday. Those stories have already been told.
Perhaps it’s not about telling stories that have already been told; perhaps it’s about telling your own story—a story that may be related to a common topic—and making it unique to the world with your individual thoughts and feelings. Maybe i’m overthinking it instead of just getting out of my negative thoughts and writing whatever the hell runs through my mind.
As a writer, I have to learn how to stop postponing the writing and to just write, even if it’s garbage, even if it’s a story that’s already been told because it’s never been told by me or like me. There’s so many restrictions in this career, so many people saying that it’s not good enough or click-bait enough or worthy enough to keep the attention of the readers. Fuck those restrictions. As writers, we must simply write without constantly thinking of where it will go.