10 August 2013

Confessional Writing: A Way to Get Paid While Getting Closure



Embrace the uncomfortable fact that the first piece you write that your family hates
is likely a sign that you’ve found your voice.
~ Brian Klem

In August, I’m participating in BlogHer’s Blogging Challenge.  The theme this month is: Hot.


F
or the record, cocktails and salty snacks taken on an otherwise empty stomache do not help fuel the writerly brain.

Which means that my free-write day just turned into a hey-look-at-that-article-over-there-while-I-fall-out-of-my-desk-chair day.

Thank Papa Hemingway for re-blogs.

Yesterday I read a great article by Brian Klem in Writer’s Digest about confessional writing.  Or what he calls the “humiliation essay.”

despite what you may sometimes hear, readers across the board still want and in fact love to read personal writing—bestseller lists show millions of memoirs sold every year. Aspiring writers who desperately want to be published understand what laymen breezing through the national paper of record don’t: The chance to get paid for a big byline has been dwindling—along with newspaper and magazine pages—for a decade.

And let’s be honest: all writers want to be noticed, what to be paid for their writing.  Apparently spilling your guts is a way to get your dysfunctional foot in the door.  And it pays:

One of my students earned $4,000 for 2,000 words in Self magazine (originally pitched as “How I Cured My OCD With Prayer”) that led to a six-figure memoir deal.

It also has the side benefit of being a way to pull those skeletons out of the closet, dust them off, and give them a proper burial:

Here’s a way to turn the worst thing that ever happened to you into the most beautiful. It can be difficult to relive awkward, painful moments from your past. But as Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking.” In good personal essays, you don’t play victim, reciting a litany of woes. You question, challenge and reveal yourself. Tackling unresolved issues can offer emotional closure, inspiring you to delve further within yourself (and saving you money on therapy).

Memoirs are hot right now. Maybe it’s time you shared your story.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What do you think about confessional writing?  Good, bad, or indifferent?

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