How to Write a Personal Essay

There are plenty of reasons why somebody may write a personal essay. For example, high school graduates have to submit one due to college admission requirements, while professional authors usually use it to shed light on some personal truth that interests their readers.

There are plenty of reasons why somebody may write a personal essay. For example, high school graduates have to submit one due to college admission requirements, while professional authors usually use it to shed light on some personal truth that interests their readers. Whatever the case is, a personal essay is a powerful tool bound to illuminate or inspire the audience with some real-life experience and encourage them to take actions or develop particular thinking.

What differs a personal essay from other types?

The goal of a personal essay is to tell the reader about an important lesson learned from the writer’s own experience. The narration usually goes from the first-person perspective and reveals a noteworthy event that had a life-changing effect on the author. Personal essays can be written in various styles – from formal to creative nonfiction. A conversational tone helps to establish a connection with the audience, and this is another peculiar feature of this essay type. A personal essay serves to inspire and encourage the reader. Alternatively, it may be a warning to stay away from doing the same mistakes the author did.

For that reason, a writer can choose from a huge variety of topics. The story may be about the first time you failed the exam, a difficult road you had to walk on the way to victory, a survival after an accident or a disease, hardships during the war in your country, or a teacher that helped you make a life-asserting decision. Whatever gave you a push to grow and change something in life can be revealed in your personal essay.

How to structure a personal essay?

The structure of a personal essay doesn’t differ much from other types. It should include an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion, with the standard length of up to five paragraphs. However, they are may be less or more as long as the essay has all three required sections.

Introductory part. Make sure that the first sentence is catchy and impactful – as you want to grab your reader’s focus from the very beginning. Set out a personal statement you are going to reinforce with the pertinent arguments in the body part. And avoid cliché phrases at any cost; it’s a bad idea to open a personal essay with popular quotes or catchphrases that have no relation to your real-life situation. Instead, pick up the words that would allow the reader to step into your shoes.

Body. This is the part where you step in with the best bit of your story. Here, you should expound on the main points and provide real-life evidence in support of your personal statement. It’s time that you, as the writer, spoke about the choices, decisions, or experiences that molded your opinion and position, as well as presented the wisdom you had gleaned.

Conclusion. The final paragraph of your essay by all means shouldn’t contradict the stated thesis, include additional arguments, or confuse the reader with some unrelated information. The narration must be consistent with its logic preserved. Thus, this paragraph should recap your thesis and convey the moral of your writing or lead the reader to a deeper truth. It’s also important to state why it was important to write about it, as well as summarize the main points the reader should take into consideration.

What should be kept in mind when writing a personal essay?

Although the creative process may be different for every essay and every writer, there are a few helpful tips to be aware of when getting down to work:

Map up a detailed plan of your essay. Starting your writing process with a detailed plan can help you to collect your thoughts, briefly outline the main points of your essay, as well as define the tone of the narration. By having your ideas visualized on paper (or on the screen), it will be easier for you to understand if this particular moment of your life is worth sharing and going into details at all. Whatever you choose to write about, it must be something that caused a strong emotional response or taught you a valuable lesson.

Make your introduction emotionally charged. When it comes to writing an essay, you already know that introduction should be catchy and appealing to the reader. As a writer of a personal essay, however, you want to establish an emotional link that would make the audience empathize with you and feel like they take part in the story.

Go into details. A personal essay is not an autobiography. An ordinary outline of the sequence of events will hardly be interesting for the reader, even much less impactful. A description of the important events, your feelings, or real-life characters, on the other hand, will let your readers live this story through with you.

Make a powerful conclusion. Finish your essay by summing up what this experience taught you and what message you are hoping to convey to your reader. The lesson may be hard and disquieting, but adding a bit of optimism and hope will make it heartfelt and inspiring.

Proofread your writing. In addition to correcting obvious mistakes (like grammar or punctuation), it’s good to make sure that your idea is clearly expressed and the narration is easy to read. “Even if you are a true master of the word, it won’t hurt to take a fresh look at your writing, so as to ensure that your arguments are solid enough and the message is delivered,” says Nancy Callahan, a how-to-write-well Instagram blogger.

She recommends asking a friend or a family member to read your essay before going for a larger audience. This way you’ll know the weak points of your argumentation, as well as see if the statement is clear enough. “Using a cheap paper writing service for assistance is a good idea too. No one will write your personal essay better than you, but they can help to proofread and edit your work,” says she.

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