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Selling My Life

September 22, 2007 3 comments

Please excuse the title; it was the only thing I could think of. I went through a few in my head, but that title is the one that stuck. Hmmm… I bet it caught your attention, though. Seriously, did it catch your attention? Anyway, I'll get to back to what this post is really about, and I can tell you for a fact it's not about titles or titles that grab your attention. However, it is in fact about my life, and it could be about yours too… if you want it to be, and if you think you're ready to go down that road.

You see, like many, I too have had hardships in my life -- hardships I've learned to overcome -- and some I'm still learning to overcome. Even though I have learned to put the past behind me, sometimes it still bothers me, but I found a solution. The solution allows me to release my stress and even help or inspire others. I can let others know they're not alone, and that eventually things do, and can, get better. What's the solution you ask? Well, it's simple: I write about it and then sell it. When I'm ready to write about what happened, I tell my story through words, and then I search for publications looking to buy stories related to mine. Therefore, not only do I release stress and hopefully help or inspire someone else, but I also make money from something good, bad, tragic, funny or embarrassing that happened in the past. And that, my friend, is where I got the title "selling my life."

The first piece I wrote was a personal essay. I didn't sell this one, I wrote it to help a charity; however, I now sell the reprint rights to it. The founder of Absolute Write, Jenna Glatzer, started the "Stories of Strength" project, and when she did, she asked writers to contribute to the cause. Well, I supported the cause, and when she said she needed more personal essays for the "Stories of Strength" anthology, that's when I decided to first write about a hardship I had to overcome in my life. I'll admit, at first it was hard to put my experience with domestic violence into words, but I did it. The best part: afterwards I felt a tremendous relief of stress, and knowing that my experience could help or inspire someone else made every word I wrote and every tear I shed writing it worth it.

Deciding to share that one moment in my life has inspired me to write more about my life, but now I sell those words about my life to editors who are looking to buy just what I'm selling. For instance, as a Christian, I like telling others how a hardship brought me closer to God, so I can sell a personal essay telling readers how escaping domestic violence brought me closer to God. To whom would I sell this personal essay? A Christian publication might buy it. Of course, I would have to check the publication's guidelines first to see if they accept personal essays.

If you think you're ready to write about a hardship in your life, I challenge you to go ahead and try it. Then once you've finished writing about your hardship, search for markets and sell it. You may be surprised at how you'll feel after you've written about it.

If you don't think you're ready to write about something bad or tragic that happened in your past, then write about something good, funny or embarrassing in your past and sell it. Many folks enjoy reading about someone else's life, and many editors enjoy publishing it.

Need an example? Following is an expert from the personal essay I donated to Jenna's "Stories of Strength" anthology. The title of the essay was "Behind Closed Doors":

“I'm sorry, it won't happen again.” His words played over and over in my head. I believed him, but the beatings continued no matter how much I begged and pleaded for him to stop. And there was a time in our relationship, when I thought maybe if I fought back, he'd leave me alone. I painfully remember that day as if it was yesterday. . .

Nervously walking into the living room to approach him, I felt my eyes sting with tears.

“What's wrong with you?” He asked, halfway withdrawing his attention from the television.

“I voice shook....miscarried our baby.”
He darted up from the couch. “Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?”

Taking a step back from him, I feared his next move.

“I didn't know I was pregnant, not until I went to the bathroom.”

Sternly scrunching up his face while placing his hands on his hips, he waited for me to continue.

“I thought I was just on my period until I saw gray matter in my stool. With my experience in the medical field, I know that the gray matter is a miscarriage. Also, it explains why my bleeding is heavier, and why I hurt more than usual.”

“It wasn't mine! Who have you being sleeping around with, Bi***?”

“You know cheating is not my style. Besides, you always make sure I'm in your sight.” Fighting back my tears, I continued, “So how could I cheat? Furthermore, if you hadn't been so angry last night we wouldn't be having this conversation!”

Like a flash of lightning, he was standing smack dab in front of my face! I knew right then, I had made a mistake.

The rest of the essay can be read in the "Stories of Strength" anthology. 100% of the sales from the anthology will go to charities to help with disaster relief.

Have a great weekend! By the way, if you do my challenge and "sell your life," please comment and direct me to the publication your piece was published in -- I would love to read it.

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3 comments: to “ Selling My Life so far...

  • Lillie Ammann 7:51 AM CDT

    After reading this, I immediately went to Lulu and ordered a download of the anthology. I have a bunch of books either loaded into my handheld reader or in my library(including your novel), but I'm eager to read the rest of your story.

  • Michele L. Tune 8:29 AM CDT

    You make excellent points here, Misti. I think this is why I'm having success with my freelance writing.

    I'm a survivor of domestic violence. I actually have sold some of my pieces under a pen name. They haven't been published yet, but they've already been selected.

    I also write about my journey through obesity. It was humiliating and painful to be near 300 pounds and have all the medical problems I had in my early twenties, but sharing my very pain and health issues is adding publishing credits to my growing portfolio!

    I'm currently working on my first book, revealing how I lost over 100 pounds, improved my health, and even conquered depression and thoughts of suicide.

    I enjoyed reading this post very much. It was "real" and I felt your passion.

    Keep up the great work!


  • Misti Sandefur, Novelist/Freelance Writer 2:36 AM CDT

    Lillie and Michele,

    Thank you both for your comments! As always, I appreciate them very much. :)

    Lillie, thanks again for purchasing a copy of my book ("Help From Above"), I do hope you enjoy it. In addition, thanks for purchasing a copy of the "Stories of Strength" anthology. Your investment in the anthology went to a good cause -- a cause I was proud to be a part of. It's always nice when I can help others.

    Best wishes to you both!


    Misti Sandefur