“One reason we choose to write essays instead of another kind of nonfiction piece is because we can use the personal essay as a kind of therapy. Sometimes the act of writing gives us the opportunity to work through the conflict and come up with another way of looking at the situation.
As the writer explores her problem, owns it, and then comes up with a resolution that will change how she relates to her problem in the future, the reader will be looking at her own life and doing the same thing. That’s why the essayist must be committed to the process of discovery and must be as honest as she possibly can be about what she uncovers.
More than any other piece of nonfiction, the personal essay has to be written and rewritten and rewritten, often many times, to get to the heart of what it is we really want to say.” — Gloria Kempton, “Making a Point,” August 2006 Writer’s Digest Magazine
Note from Marlene: So true! Much of writing is re-visioning, re-thinking, re-writing. My essay in The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries about how I spent my summer in 1974 was originally written that autumn. I spent the next 43 years revamping it. Yeah, that’s a lot of rewriting, but it got better with each twist and turn. It took that many years to fine tune my writing and to realize what the message was. I’m not suggesting you need 43 years to tweak your writing to where you like it. I am suggesting that you Never Give Up.
Photo: The Schooner Gold Star, my home for most of the summer in 1974.