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Why Writing A Personal Essay Is An Emotional Roller Coaster

Why Writing A Personal Essay Is An Emotional Roller Coaster

With the ability to post anything online, more and more people are starting to write personal essays. Some of them are being published on big sites, which opens their window to millions of people. People across the world can read your essay, hear what you have to say, and judge you. This last factor is the one which adds a strong emotional element to writing a personal essay.

If you belong to Generation Y, you are already familiar with the way people judge you and your actions and how they say you “just want attention.” It’s common for people who read articles online to judge the writer for what he or she says, and when the article they are reading is personal, there is a lot of emotion involved. Sharing your personal thoughts and feelings with the world is scary, and can even be traumatizing in some cases. It’s like you’ve returned to high school and all those mean kids are still there to judge you and shame you — only now you are an adult and the world is judging you.

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Are people who write personal essays in need of attention? Perhaps, but the real reason they write is to be heard! I am sure I speak on behalf of most people who write personal essays when I say we want to draw attention to facts, not to ourselves. Sharing a very personal story is hard, but when someone decides to do this, it’s always for a good reason, not just for attention on themselves.

Celebrities often use their own notoriety to speak their minds about the latest news or events. Take for example J.K. Rowling’s Brexit essay, or Chelsea Handler, who stood up and spoke about her abortion at 16 years of age. Because celebrities do this frequently, people see them as influencers, but when the girl next door shares her own experience, she might be taken as someone who is trying to draw attention to herself. This might be due to the fact we are used to celebrities drawing attention to themselves, so when someone does something a celebrity usually does, the first instinct is to think they are in need of attention.

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A personal essay refers to one’s life — a real person went through situations which left a mark on them. When the mark is deep, you feel the need to speak up and tell others about your experience. For example, if you had an abortion in your teens, you will feel the need to share your experience so that other teens will read and think twice before taking the next step. But you always have to accept the fact your essay will stir up mixed emotions and will turn you into a target for bullying and tough criticism. Readers will perceive your writings in millions of ways. They will often forget that it’s your own life they are judging. You have to accept this before even writing the first word of your essay.

With a personal essay, you want to stir up reactions. So, even if you receive negative feedback, you should be proud of your accomplishments. Many people can write an essay, but few can ignite passions and emotions in their readers, so when you see that your article triggers comments, you need to be proud of yourself. For a reader to take his or her time to comment on an article, they need to be touched by that article to the core — which is not an easy thing. Be glad when you are able to touch people in this way because it means they heard you. They read your article and learned about your experience. Regardless if they want it or not, a piece of your life will stick with them forever, influencing them in a teeny tiny way.

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Writers, keep writing, and readers, keep commenting on our articles so we can get inspired!

Featured photo credit: dawolf/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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