Three Signs You Don’t Need To Publish the Essay

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You just had a formative life experience. You like to write. You have a medium account. Time to start cranking, right?

Wrong.

Before hitting publish here are three things to consider.

  1. Is your essay a self-help screed about journaling*? Save it. I promise. Everything good about journaling* has already been written. Besides, you’ve been journaling* for like a month, you’re going to quit next month (and not write about it). So please unless you’ve engaged in journaling* for 10 years or more, I really don’t want to read about it.
  2. Are you writing a definitive guide to when he/she is really into you versus kind of into you. Don’t — for two reasons. Firstly, do you really think this advice is going to help someone? Picture poor Sally sitting on her bed crossed legged, wondering if the dude who just texted her “sup” after they banged 10 days ago really likes her. Do you think in that moment she’s going to hop on Medium and happen upon your sage advice? Of course not. She’s going to text back and regret it. Secondly, your standards are your standards. You can’t export them and imprint them onto someone else. So. Stop.
  3. Are you straining to turn a two sentence story into a 1,000 word life lesson? This is a sign to stop writing. If you’re spit-balling titles and they all sound like…

What walking with dilated pupils taught me about living with a disability.

Translation. It hurt to walk in bright light for an hour and I didn’t like it.

What being told, “That shirt makes you look like Homer Simpson.” Taught me about looking like Homer Simpson.

Translation. I need to run more.

What getting a parking ticket taught me about the dystopian hellscape of the NYC traffic law enforcement.

Translation. I get too many parking tickets.

…then you probably need to re-think whether or not there’s a story there.

*Journaling in this case refers to any daily practice you now swear by, running, yoga, actual journaling, whatever.