Personal essays should resonate with readers and offer some take-away value. I’ve found that writing about my experiences provides me take-away value, when it leads to self discoveries and personal growth. When I sell one of my personal growth essays, I get paid for my own self therapy.
For example, while trying to simplify my life, I decided to eliminate useless, unused or unneeded items that were taking up shelf space in my house. When I discarded a particular memento loaded with sentimental value, I felt guilty. I realized I needed to tackle my irrational response, so I changed my thinking and continued with guilt-free shelf clearing. The piece about how I dealt with my sentimentality sold to a magazine for seniors.
A regional magazine bought my essay about a hiking trip with my daughters, who had grown apart. I hoped the adventure would help them reconcile. While I pondered and penned the essay, I discovered I abetted their alienation. When they were children and argued, I tried to solve their problems. When they were older and not talking, I relayed messages. I stood between them. When I stopped mediating, my girls grew closer.
Another time, a canoeing fiasco with my husband led to a humorous essay. As I wrote about the incidents on the river, I realized that my self-righteous attitude and consequent behavior should have been thrown overboard. This story made it to the final round for a well-known anthology series. The book is scheduled for release in May 2012.
We all have personal stories that may benefit others. If you are willing to share how you successfully dealt with a weakness, mistake, shortcoming or failure, you may help readers and get paid for helping yourself grow.
Pamela Crowe enjoys writing travel, nature and Christian articles. Her work has appeared in Adirondack Life, Arizona Highways, Upper Room, Highlights for Children, Delaware Today and other periodicals.
Have a Freelance Success Story to share? We pay $40 on acceptance, non-exclusive electronic rights only. Success stories run around 300 words but we’re very flexible. Our guidelines are here: http://writersweekly.com/misc/guidelines.php
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