"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Road to Improvement

Yesterday I took my first Personal Essay Writing Class. I'd signed up for it a while ago and was especially excited for it. I've been looking into freelance writing over the past little while, brainstorming pitches and what not, hoping to find a way to support my novel writing that didn't involve catering to rich, bored housewives who enjoyed using me as their personal slave. But here's the thing, I don't like writing dry articles.
After I'd bought a huge stack of my favourite magazines, snuggled onto the couch and begun reading them in the hopes of figuring out what the magazines were looking for, what had already been done and etc, I realized one thing. I don't read magazines. They're boring. The only thing I do with a magazine is flip through it. I never read the articles. They're boring. When it comes to a magazine I'm all about the visual, with the information in short, concise blurbs. I hate long articles. They're dry, boring, and exhaustive. I don't even enjoy the true stories. They're always about some brave individual overcoming some horrible obstacle like "I spent seven days lost at sea" or, "my brother turned out to be a serial killer". No thanks. I flip right past.
How can I write something I won't even read? The only articles I enjoy reading are the snarky, sarcastic, self deprecating personal essays. Which is why I took the class. Maybe, I could make my income writing hilarious personal essays on society, technology and everything else under the sun. Much the way my favourite author, Jen Lancaster, does. Each month she writes a personal essay for the Chicago Tribune. They're funny, completely unserious, and utterly delightful. I could do that.
The only problem? Newspapers and magazines aren't really looking for that. They're looking for articles, products, information. They don't care about my humorous take on movie theater etiquette. (Even though they should. Have you gone to the movies lately? It's insane.) I don't know what to do. I can't keep working retail. Every day I go in another piece of my soul dies. I have to find a way to support myself while I'm finishing the book. Perhaps the class can shed some light on the situation. Meanwhile, at least I'm attempting to improve myself.

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