Reflections on The Medium Writers Challenge

Photo of Central New York in Autumn, by the author

I started publishing essays on Medium earlier this year, when everything in my life felt like it was falling apart.

Originally my idea was to revive my old, abandoned humor blog, The Lower Crust, which I once used to write comedic reviews of Lifetime movies and pizza boxes. It was a fun time in my life, when I wrote those silly essays, and the idea of revisiting that joy was appealing.

I didn’t expect to write so exclusively (and personally) about the difficult parts of life, but that’s how it shook out. When I first moved out to the country — in spring of 2020 — I started a personal diary documenting our new pandemic life. I had been writing in it for almost a year when I started publishing on Medium; diary writing has a way of focusing your perspective in a way few other things can, and I eventually settled into writing more serious essays about our life in rural New York. (I do occasionally chuckle at imagining an old Lower Crust reader finding me here and thinking, “Well… I enjoyed her early, funny work.”)

I wrote The Secret Language after I lost my first pregnancy. It was a hard essay to write, and I gave up on the draft many times before I finally finished it. The experience of miscarriage is isolating in so many ways — because you’re told it’s better not to tell anyone, because you have to contend with the grief and disappointment of people you love, because it makes people uncomfortable, because you’re told it’s both extremely common and very rare (at least rare enough to be told not to worry about it), because the healthcare field believes that miscarriages are something that “just happen”… I could go on. I wrote this piece to help work through some of my feelings on my loss, and I shared it with the hope that it might help other people feel less alone.

I put my heart into it completely, and I’m proud to have it included as an honorable mention in the Writers Challenge. Writing has been a healing experience for me, and I am grateful for it every day.

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Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin

Former city gal living in a country cabin as we build a forever home. Stories about life and sometimes death. 2021 Medium Writers Challenge Finalist.