An essay is an attempt. It’s personal. Its being depends solely on the writer’s insights and experience. Readers, as Elizabeth Hardwick reminds us, “consent to watch a mind at work.” While the voice on the page is a construct, it’s the one the writer has offered to share with readers.
Get out of your head. Breathe. Stop looking around for Lululemon gear and stronger bodies than yours—just practice. Stop counting page views or worrying about agents. Just write. Who cares if someone else is better at it than you—they’re probably putting in the time on practicing that you’re spending frivolously on comparison and self-judgment.
Writers have it tough. Not only do we have to contend with our (often brutal) inner critics, we have to face criticism when our work does make its way out into the world. Plus, there’s the whole “finding time to write” thing, which for me has taken on a whole new meaning.
Connecting with other writers makes you a better writer, but establishing a network can sometimes be hard. I’ve found my writer friends either directly or indirectly because I was an English major and worked at a writing center. I’ve seen listicles and articles that give tips about finding writing groups and/or other writers – but most of those assume the reader feels comfortable approaching strangers in coffee shops or attending readings or other events alone.