Personal Essay Writing Guide

July 12, 2018

What is a Personal Essay?

What is better story that the genuine one you have lived through? The one you have learned a lesson from, the one people can relate to. Philosophy teaches no one is capable of showing the honest compassion or empathy without having been in the same shoes at some moment of their life. Clearly, people can try to be nice and support one another because of good manners. But after all it comes from the brain instead of the heart. A personal essay being just another kind of the essay writing hides many Easter eggs in it. It can help people out by sharing the experience they also went through showing they are not alone. It also demonstrates the level of one’s spiritual maturity and ability to learn from life situations. Finally, a personal essay assignment can open unique facets of you. Whether to the admission committee or a teacher/supervisor.

If you would like to compose a personal essay to share with others or were assigned to write one, scroll down below. Here you will find helpful tips on the structure and all do’s and dont’s. There is a sample of a short personal essay as well.

How To Start A Personal Essay (Introduction)

Just like any essay you start with an introduction which is frequently referred to as a “hook”. You have only a few seconds of well-written introduction to kindle readers’ interest. Quite frequently young people feel embarrassed as they do not have many amusing stories to retell and show how interesting and fun their life can be. You do not create a personal piece of writing to impress everyone in class or on the Internet. The people who can relate will appreciate your thoughts and mayhap learn out of your conclusion, that is all a writer/author can wish for. It is a common misconception about personal writing that you have to show off. It will be easy to tell whether an author oversaturate his essay with drama. You need a second, moment, glance, touch, smell of anything or anyone to awake feelings in you. Start from them, reflect on why, for instance, this old candy shop you walked by the other day made you reminiscent of your childhood. Was it pleasant to feel nostalgic for a while or did it bring some grief? If you are confused about the topic just write about something that got you thinking. Develop this small idea, visualize it for the reader with the help of adjectives and verbs, make your audience capable of feeling what you felt and seeing what you saw. Details are the key. The simplicity is genius and so are little things. As soon as you created a vivid visualization of the intro in the readers’ minds they are hooked and are willing to read forward.

Thesis As A Part Of Introduction

Thesis is usually placed at the end of the introduction. It is an idea that you have developed in your mind closely connected with your observations and experience. Depending on the type of personal essay it can represent a moral, persuasive statement, argument, observation, etc. As a rule thesis is short (2 brief sentences or 1 long sentence) and personal. Do not make a conclusion out of thesis. It should not reveal overall idea of an essay but make the reader interested in the following text.

How To Write Body Paragraphs Of A Personal Essay

The next part after the introduction is the main body. As a rule it consists of 3 paragraphs making it 5 in total with the intro and conclusion but a short personal essay might have only 1 paragraph in the body part. Here you are to open up about the general idea partially stated in the thesis. There are no strict rules to the structure in the paragraphs since personal essay is not a formal piece of writing. You are allowed to use conversational speech, collocations and friendly tone if needed, but limit the amount of direct speech. If you would like to place an emphasis on a current notion, use Present Simple. If you decide to reflect on some older events, write in Past Simple. You may use any Time and Tense you might need from the point of view of grammar but be consistent. Stick to one for the majority of sentences. Usually you would see “I” pronoun in personal essays but “We” is also occasional when referred to some community like family or society. Frequently when you write about something personal you may get carried away and perplex the text. Readability is essential for the audience to catch the main idea of your creation. Avoid overcomplicated words and expressions, after all you do not use those in normal everyday chit-chats.

When you have endless possibilities regarding structure it becomes even harder to compose your thoughts, that is why it is always a good idea to make drafts. From the object (our candy shop, for instance) you described in the introduction move to the memories it triggered. Dig into the memory lane and write it in chronological order as if it were a movie. What thoughts did it awake while you were recollecting the past? When you gather all the information in the draft split it into paragraphs each stating an observation or having some major note or opinion.

How To Conclude A Personal Essay

Reveal the hidden meaning of it all to you. Keep in mind you can easily lose the audience if conclusion is too long or far-fetched, be authentic and sincere and the reader will sense it. If you write about some experience or situation you went through describe what it gave you. Frequently people do not even realize while writing a personal essay that by the end of it they might learn a lot about themselves. Think deep and analyze what effect the event, object or person had on you.

Sample Of A Personal (Reflective) Essay

When I ponder over my childhood the 1st thing that comes to my mind is our old candy shop my father used to show me. He always tried to demonstrate me his wisdom through simple things a child is capable of capturing. It is absolutely amusing how we kids forget the most precious time of our life except some random fragments. Those fragments are usually saturated with strong childish emotions whether they are pleasant or repulsive. This old candy shop is forever connected with the priceless lessons my dad gave me during our regular walks nearby the shop which all contributed to who I am today.

Materialistic things will not make you happy, today I am aware of that. But as a 5-year-old who can only think about sweets it is hard to seize. As we entered the candy shop and my eyes were huge from excitement my father allowed me to get what I desired. The next time we were there again I demanded new kinds of candy, I was bored and wanted something different. With the smile on his face he would explain why I felt unsatisfied. It is a temporary spark of excitement and false happiness that will fly away the moment it appeared. He taught me to never rely on these fragile things in life but look for happiness in good deeds and helping other.

You cannot have it all because you simply do not need it. And as I tried to get as many sweets as possible in my tine arms my father would set the limits. Clearly it was essential for his wallet as well as my well-being but I realized more from it. Commitments are vital in achieving fulfillment in life, it is easy to get trapped wasting your energies on toxic people and pointless activities. Well-informed choices and being consistent are features I took from my father.

Once we bought a lollipop in the prettiest package but somehow it tasted awful to a 5-year-old me. I was stunned with mismatch of look and taste and asked for another candy but my father looked unimpressed and explained to me not only to look on the tag but read it (ask him to read at that time). It is normal for us human beings to love what is pleasant to our eyes but life is more than just pictures, perfect silhouettes and shapes, soul and spirit are faceless. I have met many people since then and tried to read them all without looking at the cover. Lots of beautiful ones turned out to be insipid.

When I spot a candy shop somewhere on the streets now, the memories of my father and his wisdom appear in my mind. Without this bright symbol of our talks I would not have remembered his lessons. The older I get the more I understand the effect of childhood experiences on my adult life. I shall forever be grateful to my dad for allowing me being a silly kid and still teaching me things I follow till this day.