How Not to Write in 5 Easy Steps

Today I woke up at 4:30 AM, so I decided to check my phone. I’d recently submitted an article to a blog for publication, and an email from them was waiting on my screen. The subject line read: “Article Rejected.”

Somehow, I already knew it would be.

The title of my article was, “How to Use Pinterest to Create the Perfect Work Outfit.” Ugh! completely gag-worthy! If it sounds pretentious, it’s because it is.  I don’t know who I was trying to be.

I confess that I proofread the document in haste. And by the time I was done, I actually knew that what I had written didn’t match what my title suggested. So why the heck did I click submit?

I buried my face into my pillow. A lump formed in my throat, and as it grew so did self-loathing. Whatever darkness I had in me swelled, and damn: she is a mean, cynical bitch.

It felt like a panic attack. In a desperate need to reach out, I hysterically emailed a friend narrating my perceived incompetence.

I went back to bed, but the flood works weren’t done. I found myself caught in a storm of suffocating doubt. I convulsed, thinking that I just wasn’t a good enough writer, that I was wasting my life, that I shouldn’t even teach English. How could I teach others how to write if I could barely write a “how to” article about clothing?

The torrent of sobs continued.

Outside my bedroom window, a blue sky welcomed the morning. As night fell away, the nearby street light went out, and I thought, Yup, that’s right. The light is gone.

I thought this without realizing something very important. In fact, it wouldn’t be until an hour later — when my inner Truth, my Authentic Self, would pull me out of bed to write this blog post — that I would realize the important thing I’d missed.

The light of the street lamp did go out because the true light was making its grand entrance. How telling, that in my moment of complete blinding despair, the darkness in me thought that the artificial light of the lamp was the light.

At 6:15 AM, I wrote back to my friend. I recanted my pessimistic sentiments, and I thanked him for his patience and friendship.

I realized I had this desperate yearning to get an anything published, no matter the content. The storm washed away that smallness, and revealed a truth: Content matters to me. I can’t just churn out hollow content with an ulterior motive.

I know that my soul has substance, and that is my niche: emotions, intellect, love, and depth. None of my authentic drives point toward “Pinteresting outfits.’”Love is about patience and taking time.

If I am going to write what I love, it needs to be nurtured and tended with care, not spattered into a Google Document in “five easy steps.”

 

Vanelis Rivera is a Caribbean girl and embodiment of Shakespeare’s, “And though she be but little, she is fierce” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.ii.335). She was born in a hospital that faces the Atlantic Ocean in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and was raised on the island of St. Croix. An unruly spirit and wayward heart keeps her mind in search of existential wonder. She currently teaches English at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. In the midst of bayou living, she maintains a dedicated yoga and meditative practice, as well as making time to make “big magic” in her film and writing projects. You can fall down the rabbit hole with this spunky yogi on social media or email her at unrulyfoto@gmail.com.

Vanelis Rivera

Vanelis Rivera is a Caribbean girl and embodiment of Shakespeare’s, “And though she be but little, she is fierce” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.ii.335). She was born in a hospital that faces the Atlantic Ocean in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and was raised on the island of St. Croix. An unruly spirit and wayward heart keeps her mind in search of existential wonder. She currently teaches English at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. In the midst of bayou living, she maintains a dedicated yoga and meditative practice, as well as making time to make “big magic” in her film and writing projects. You can fall down the rabbit hole with this spunky yogi on social media or email her at unrulyfoto@gmail.com.