I've been struck by the level of intimidation students feel about writing the personal essay, considering how much they routinely share on social networks and blogs. But these revelations are often fairly scattershot and in real time. We're really good at staying in constant connection and telling the world what we're up to.
But a good personal essay requires self- reflection, thought, and the stillness of time, three rare commodities these days.
Blogs and online postings can actually help you develop a first draft for your ideas. D'oh.
Case in point: today's New York Times Magazine LIVES column, by a writer named Justin Horner, called The Tire Iron and the Tamale is a terrific read. In the comments section, someone posted a link to the evolution of this column, which began as a comment on Reddit, responding to a question.
From Reddit to The New York Times? Yes indeed.
Here's Horner's account, from his Reddit page:
Many roads to Rome.