Writing Your Personal Essay

“Whatever you write about, what matters most is that you’ve chosen the topic because you aren’t quite sure what you want to think about it. Write about what confuses you, what puzzles you, or what raises itchy questions.”


A personal essay may be written for a variety of purposes.  This essay aims to write about your personal feelings, desires, and beliefs.

The initial step is to pick a theme or topic to be written about.  A personal essay may be about a topic of interest or narrative – in the form of a story.

The most important questions in a narrative essay are:

  1. What do I remember or see that I would like to think about?
  2. Which of these raise the most interesting questions to explore?
  3. What do I understand now about this topic that I did not before?

 How to write a personal essay?

The topic for a personal essay may be: Make a list of ten beliefs that you held when you were 5 years old, Are some types of beliefs tied to age?, What changed your personality? One of the key events in your life, The most meaningful person for you, What profession is the most valuable for you? What did you learn from past mistakes? Etc.

  This kind of essay consists of subjective response – most commonly an individual’s reaction to something or someone. The most common causes are an event, person, place, concept etc.  The personal essay is written in an active voice – because it describes the writer’s inner state.

The purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place, or thing in a way to form the picture in the reader’s mind.

Choose the introduction, to begin with, an opening sentence and write from your point of view. Make a personal essay as informative and interesting as possible. In the beginning, write an outline using a variety of library tools (repetitions, metaphors, personifications, etc.).

The organization of an essay

In this kind of descriptive writing, it is advised to use specific adjectives and nouns. To create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind it is necessary to use those words as well as action verbs.

Organize well descriptive writing. It may be through chronological writing (time), spatial (location) and the order of importance. There are several mistakes that you should avoid. The most common are the absence of organization, boring topic, no structure, absence of moral and inappropriate lexis.

The essay structure

The common structure of a personal essay consists of the introduction, main paragraphs, and the conclusion. In the introduction, part begins with a short introduction to the selected topic. The number of main paragraphs depends on the number of topics, usually 3-5. In the conclusion, summarize all the previously written topics and have a brief final concluding statement.

Personal narratives usually do not follow the 5 paragraph essay style. These essays are more in the form of storytelling.  Try to use personal experience and observations to drive inquiry. Apply the exploratory thinking of personal essays in different forms. Identify the characteristics of personal essays in different forms. Apply the invention strategies to discover and develop a personal essay topic and apply revision strategies effectively to follow the narrative story.

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