Breakneck Book Report: Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I realized I could be funny.

I had just transferred to Emerson College and, after workshopping a series of overwrought essays about my last romantic relationship, I wrote about running out of underwear, finding a gaping hole in the street where my laundromat used to be, and finally going commando.

My classmates looked at me, perplexed. It was obvious they didn’t think I had it in me. Either to write with such humor OR to go frolicking about without my cotton granny panties. But as blindsided as they were, they loved it. And I loved that they loved it. The humorous personal essay? Alright then. I was hooked!

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Baring It All: Personal Essays Are Tough

Earlier this week, I bared it all in an essay I wrote for Nerve, on my experiences posing for a nude portrait.

Its publication was a long time coming: I first faced my fears by stripping down for a complete stranger, and then did up my essay in a frenzy of excitement and inspiration.

It was considered “too flippant,” and “not revelatory enough.” I rewrote it.

It was considered “too dark.” I rewrote it.

Nerve then got a new CEO, and my editors told me they were uncertain my essay would ever be published, because of the site’s possible new editorial direction.

I tried not to freak out.

Finally, it went up, slightly truncated. The entire process was far more traumatic than actually getting naked.

When I first started writing personal essays, I felt that nothing could be easier — or more fun — than writing about yourself. After the jump, find the reasons that baring it all (in writing) can be tougher than you think.

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