Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 291 of 365: The Purpose of Writing

So yesterday was essay-central. On top of writing and submitting something to MindBodyGreen, I sent a pitch over to one of the more major websites (and I expect nothing to come of it, but I figured it's worth trying). I also rewrote and polished up yesterday's entry. Before I could Trey Parker it (which is what I refer to as a "creative fallout", aka when an artist spends a condensed amount of time on one piece and then decides it's the worst shit they've ever done, a la Trey Parker in 6 Days to Air), I submitted it to ElephantJournal. They replied back, saying that they loved my piece but required just a bit more tweeking before they could accept it. I submitted a rewrite and, this morning, the have officially accepted the piece, scheduled to be posted sometime next week.

I'm happy that I was able to turn a very frustrating situation into a productive essay. That director's passive-aggressive reply really killed my spirit -- enough that I think I'm done trying to hawk my tai chi teaching abilities until the fall (at which point I'll be focusing on only yoga and martial art studios; I am done with rec centers). It really bothered me, really took the energy out of me. I forced myself to stay productive (including applying for a sales rep/front desk position at a local gym, but that's for another time) but, even with a large iced coffee (with proceeds going to charity) in my system, I was in a funk.

This isn't the first time I got a very frustrating situation out in essay form, and in a way that at least one website wanted to run it. My very first essay was written purely because I couldn't process the emotional fallout and complete uncertainty that quitting teaching brought me. What happened next was a deluge of emails from teachers on the verge of quitting (as well as some former teachers) who thanked me for saying what they couldn't say.

As a fiction writer, my goal is to transcribe the story I've got going on in my brain in a way that it evokes some type of emotion and maybe even teaches you some type of lesson. As an essay writer (I won't go so far to call myself a full-out "essayist"), my goal is to take my own experiences and write about them in a way so that those who cannot articulate how they are feeling finally have the words necessary.

Take my rant about certification. If I can get just one other person -- one other martial art instructor, one other yoga instructor, anyone -- to read that and feel like they are not alone in their frustrations, then my experiences happened with a bigger purpose than the vague, "everything happens for a reason." If I can convey how I felt when certain disappointments happened, when heartbreaks and mournings pile up and I don't feel like there's any way I can sort it out, then my job as a writer is complete.

Sometimes it's nice to have a website so readily agree to run my things. But for every piece that gets published (namely, through Thought Catalog), there are about 15 pitches that get shot down by the Big Names. But, regardless of how my stuff gets out there, if it can get out there -- if it can reach who it is meant to reach -- then I'm doing a-okay as a would-be novelist or essayist.

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