The Put-Ons Of Personal Essayists
This is the public, the readers you want to invite into your work.Self-expression may be the beginning of writing, but it should never be the endpoint.Here is his opening: A year ago today, my mother stopped eating.She was ninety-six, and so deep in her dementia that she no longer knew where she was, who I was, who she herself was.
People need to know what streetcar they are getting onto, you see, because they want to know where they will be when the streetcar stops and lets them off. Moore shares a variety of methods for crafting an essay that keeps the reader’s desires and preferences in mind, resulting in a resonate and truly memorable piece. Essays are for readers.” Good writing is never merely about following a set of directions.Like all artists of any form, essay writers occasionally find themselves breaking away from tradition or common practice in search of a fresh approach. But even groundbreakers learn by observing what has worked before.There is a good reason for this: These events can truly shake us to our core. For this reason it is hard to grasp that the account of our loss might have little or no impact on a reader who did not know this loved one, or does not know you, and who does not have the emotional reaction already in the gut.But too often, when writing about such a significant loss, the writer focuses on the idea that what has happened is not fair and that the loved one who is no longer around is so deeply missed. In other words, there are certain “private” moments that feel exhilarating to revisit, and “private” sentences that seem stirring to write and to reread as we edit our early drafts, but they are not going to have the same effect in the public arena of publishable prose.
Only by focusing on these anonymous readers, by acknowledging that you are creating something for them, something that has value, something that will enrich their existence and make them glad to have read what you have written, will you find a way to truly reach your audience.