“Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay” by Adair Lara is a thought provoking, informative, and inspiring book on writing personal essays or memoirs. Lara, who wrote a weekly column for the “San Francisco Chronicle” for twelve years and won the Associated Press Award for Best Columnist in California, uses her experiences as a columnist, author of more than ten books, and writing instructor to guide you through the writing process from coming up with an idea to write about to selling your essay to a magazine or your book to a publisher.As a writer who focuses on writing essays and memoirs, it makes sense that Lara’s book on writing is not a dry, technical writing manual. It’s engaging and full of stories. I found it enjoyable to read, as well as informative and educational.The first part of the book is short and goes into why writing down your stories is common and the importance of craft. Part two focuses on the personal essay going into the elements of a successful essay and a chapter on angle.The third part of the book covers techniques and practices for essay and memoir. The chapters in this part of the book cover tone, image, how to trick yourself into writing, working with other writers, and rewriting your work. These chapters provide good advice on important ingredients of the craft of writing.Part four is on the memoir and has chapters that cover planning your memoir, what goes in it and what doesn’t, and how to write narration and scene. These are important considerations for this type of writing.The final part of the book is on getting published. There are many other books with this a sole focus, but Lara does a decent job of sharing some tips and suggestions from her experiences on selling your essays and publishing your memoir.The book concludes with a short Epilogue that shares some of what you get when you write from life. Things like enrichment, changing relationships, and giving your life meaning. There is also an Appendix that contains a short recommended reading list and a number of pages of writing exercises and a couple of tips regarding using computers for your writing.Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and found it to have some great advice for writing in general, and especially for writing essays and memoirs. If you are interested in this type of writing, I recommend this book. Not only for the practical advice it contains, but also for the motivation and inspiration reading it provides.
Years of sweet teenage fun and merry-go- round experience in high school is over. Reality sets in to take a further step into the educational realm. Many questions are then raised as to, “What career to pursue?”, “What college or university to go to?” or “How to apply?”Annually, vast number of graduates from secondary education take in stride to secure a seat to pursue greater heights in the academic milieu. However, competition is intensified. One of the requirements in applying to colleges is to write a college admission essay. There are various ways and techniques in writing this composition but it is important to understand and keep in mind certain guidelines.First, identify your objective to accomplish the goal. The essay must be purposefully written to showcase your uniqueness among thousands of applicants and exhibit a strong desire to learn and advance professionally. Another way of putting it is by asking, what is your strongest asset? And what really drives you to enter college?Second step is a strict compliance to the specified length, spacing, margin, font style and size on the basis of the format the school adapted, whether MLA, APA or CBE. Take note, plagiarism is strongly discouraged.Writing a catchy introduction is another key in creating a spark of interest among admission officers who read hundreds if not thousands of admission essays. You can start with a quotation, a very intriguing question, a realization, an observation, or perhaps even sharing a childhood dream.There are many ways of writing your essay creatively. Think of your greatest challenge or remarkable achievement, your life-changing moment, your inspirational story, the greatest influence in your life, the impact you want to make in the society or an ambition you want to achieve.Believe that there is wisdom in each and every experience we have, once learned they can be a strong foundation to build a good imprint of our character. Hence, leaving a positive impression about yourself may lead to a positive response as well. But be mindful that a balanced content must bring out the main thought, maintain coherence, embrace clarity and express depth in the writer’s ‘voice’.Sentence structure must also be studied carefully, including grammatical errors and misspelled words. Ask for help if needed, especially in proofreading and revising. The body of the essay could be a reflection of one’s self and the motivation behind the person’s intent. Remember that your college admission essay will leave a lasting impression about you, which can be a deciding factor whether to accept you or not.Ending the essay, pose also another challenge. It’s like saying the last words in two to three sentences or a little more than that. In addition, it should highlight the core of the content. But whether you use a powerful remark or a reflective ending, connecting to the main idea should be substantial. Pen it in a way to leave the reader refreshed, delighted and inspired.As each person has their own unique personality, each one has also their own style and peculiarity of expression. Make your essay uniquely yours. Yet knowing your objective and applying all these key principles into writing is not enough. The secret lies in writing it with your heart, in the signature of yourself.