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    Posted November 30, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The written word: Your personal essays

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    It was less than a year ago that I wrote an article about my personal struggle with anxiety, and posted it to CNN’s iReport. When I wrote the piece, I didn’t think much of it. “Write about it”, the therapist always told me, so I did.

    You can imagine my surprise when about a week after posting my bit, a producer from CNN called me. They wanted to ‘do something’ with it, and do something they did.

    A few days later my story was featured on CNN, on the health page, near the bottom. I watched as it creeped to the top of that category. Then suddenly, to the main page of CNN. How bizarrely strange and wonderful that my silly mug and jumbled musings could be pasted to such a place.

    I felt like a writer.

    There is something very uniquely cool about writing, and that is that anyone can do it. To be able to express yourself in words and submit your opinions to the world, means that anybody, any one of us, can be a writer.

    Not long ago I noticed that iReport had begun to actually encourage people to submit stories of their own to its ‘personal essay’ category, and they are paying attention to them. They used my work as an example that posting a blog-esque piece could actually end up getting a good amount of attention. (Ever wanted to write for CNN? Richard Lucas has. He wrote a personal essay about his battle with anxiety.)

    If there is just one thing in this world that we all unarguably have in common, it’s that we all have an opinion. Even as you read this, you’re developing an opinion about it. So why not share?

    For those of us that do fancy ourselves as writers, we likely share in common that we are an inspired clique. We see things, we hear things, and we say to ourselves, “Ooh I’m going to write about that”. We often fantasize about writing the ‘Great American Novel’, perhaps even will out to the universe that someone out there is polishing our Pulitzer. You have to start somewhere.

    Too often we as writers sell ourselves short. We coach our mindset to believe that nobody would be interested in our story. We mould our thoughts to protect our self esteem and give up before we even try. I know this to be true, because I felt the same way.

    If I told you just how many people responded to me personally to tell me one thing or another about how my journalistic endeavor helped them in some way, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But it was a lot.

    You see, unless you’re thinking about writing on a topic that no other person has ever heard of, someone out there can relate. And if you do have a subject in mind that really is that rare, than my goodness, get your typing fingers on and share with the rest of us.

    Each time I write an iReport and it garners some interest from CNN, there is one question from them that never changes:

    “What inspired you to submit this?” --So I’ll skip a step for them and answer for this article.

    I was inspired to submit this today in the hopes of inspiring others. I have personally been so moved by the iReport community and the endless possibilities that it entails, that I want to share and encourage others to step outside of their comfort zone, and see where their words can take them.

    Additionally, should reading this coax you even just a little in to moving forward with your work, I would love to be tagged/poked/pinged/dinged or whatever, so I can share in your story too.

    As an iReporter (a title granted to me by no means other than that I was capable of signing myself up to the site), I invite you to become an iReporter too.

    Why? Because the next big story, could be yours.

    Share with me:


    Check this out from the CNN team for some pointers.

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