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How to Write a Personal Essay

July 24, 2018 Types of essays
How to Write a Personal Essay

A well written personal essay can inspire and galvanize readers to act (for example to change something in their lives). It can be defined as a nonfiction narrative story in which authors share their personal experiences, incidents, insightful information or lessons learned from finding themselves in a predicament. In order to write a compelling piece, the first step is to understand the personal essay format and its implicit structure. Then, it is best to explore multiple personal essay topics by coming with basic outlines allowing one to examine which one would be the most compelling.


Table Of Contents

Proper Format

Like most academic tasks, the personal essay format can be easily outlined in five-paragraphs. Start with an introductory paragraph. It gives your reader a clear understanding of what the story will be about. Then, catch their attention and motivate them to read the rest of the paper with an awesome title. As you can see learning how to write a personal essay doesn’t have to be a pain when the process is clearly explained.

proper personal essay format

The following step requires students to include a thesis statement to the introduction and all the points you would like to discuss.

After creating an introduction, you must then formulate three body paragraphs that support your thesis statement. Each new point should contain its own body paragraph. Don’t forget to make transitions from one paragraph to another to make sure that everything flows smoothly.

In the end, it will be essential to wrap everything up and give your audience a sense of completeness by writing a proper conclusion. Restate your thesis, summarize the main points that you have stated in body paragraphs and leave your reader with a specific emotion, depending on the subject of your paper.

Before looking at some prominent personal essay examples let us discover what criteria can be used to select the most suitable topic for oneself.

Personal Essay Topics

If you have got a lot of exciting stories to tell, your personal essay can shine brightly by interactively engaging the reader. Put in a little extra effort and dig deeper to find a unique or interesting experience or an unusual moment in your life.

Looking at a life lesson from another angle can turn into deep and purposeful subject matter for your essay. But, if you decide to pick a topic from a huge list of personal essay topics that you found in the internet, it’s recommended to be precise and careful because not all of them can meet the requirements of your professor.

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

In this type of writing, try to explore a unique experience that created a sense of conflict in your life. Explore how and why you were confused, annoyed, or hurt by the experience. Imagine your piece of paper as a place where you can freely express your emotions and discuss significant moments and reflect their impact on your life. This tip can help you to create a bunch of really good essay topics, but if you need a motivation, you can find some examples below.

Examples:

  • "One small step that helped me skyrocket in my career!"
  • "Why controlling urges teaches you master self-control."
  • "People only learn from their own mistakes."
  • "Life is not a one-dimensional path: it is curvier than a snake!"
  • "What I learned about conquering my fears."
  • "A moment when you should have made a better choice."

Write about specific emotions

You may also talk about a specific event in your life that left a long-lasting impression on you. Usually, this type of essay acts as a reflection of an incident that took place in your life and shifted it in some way. Dive deeper into your mind and find an event that is unique and personal to you. The weirder the occurrence, the more likely the essay will be engaging to read.

Examples:

  • "Moment when your life changed forever."
  • "A disappointment you've experienced."
  • "An accident that changed everything."
  • "A near death experience."
  • "Most terrifying thing you've witnessed."
  • "An event that changed your life."

If you have not noticed, each of these titles can bring a fascinating vibe to the table. The names grab your attention, but you can only honestly know what they are about when you start reading them. That is the secret to a provocative title! Check out EssayPro's TOP 25 Personal essay topics to help you get started.

25 good personal essay topics

Crafting An Outline

personal essay outline

This is one of the most important steps of personal essay writing at any level. Your outline will serve you as a navigator, and you don’t want to get off the track, do you? It will be important to understand how to start a personal essay, what to write in body paragraphs and how to conclude it appropriately.

Introduction

Start your paper with a statement about your story, while at the same time catching the reader’s attention by making use of a hook sentence. It may be a suitable quotation, definition, fact or even an intriguing question. Don’t leave your readers in the dark by explaining the important things such as:

  • Who are the major characters?
  • When and where is it taking place?
  • What kind of story is it?

The great introduction should also have a narrative thesis.
It must be written in one concise sentence that will bring the reader to the starting point of your essay.

Body

It should include supporting evidence for your narrative thesis. Usually, it is presented in the form of your experiences and your reflections on these events. You should also note the passage of time in your body sections, so make sure that the reader is aware of when and how each specific chapter took place.

Conclusion

Naturally, it should include a conclusion to the events and experiences discussed throughout the essay. Students should also come to discover a life lesson by going through the story. It is a moment where you show what you have learned from your experiences or how previous events have changed your life.

Take our advice and write your personal essay in 5 paragraphs. Use one for the introduction, two-three for the body section and one for the conclusion. Doing so allows one to put together a solid outline from the start. Nonetheless, keep in mind that you do not need to be limited to five paragraphs as long as you have all three sections covered in the personal essay.

Personal Essay Writing Process

We are going to explore the various stages of personal essay writing. Follow the tips of our essay writer and don’t skip anything.

how to write a personal essay

Start with engaging opening sentence

Open your personal essay with an introductory section that will be engaging and interesting for your reader. In the opening section, introduce the principal characters of the story as well as the central theme or themes. It should also present the fundamental question of the essay.

Write from your unique point of view

You are free to write from your point of view or in your own unique style. In contrast to other types of essay, writing from your perspective or in your personal manner is welcomed.

Take the characters into account

Be sure to describe your characters from all angles. Even though it is your real life experiences, you should still consider storytelling elements like the plot and characters. Using these ingredients in your writing will keep your reader engaged and help your essay flow smoothly.

Shed light on a deep truth

Discuss your background experience with honesty and curiosity. Don’t be afraid to uncover a hidden truth or a truth you didn't know was there at the time. Expose a thing that is uncomfortable or difficult for you to discuss. No matter who will read your essay. Whether it will be a teacher or somebody else, they will definitely appreciate your honesty and strive to share your experience.

Personal Narrative Essay

Writing a personal narrative essay is an easy way to share your (writer’s) personal experience or a story from your life. Writing a good paper will require you to focus on many vivid details and look at them from another angle. You will need to identify crucial points and pay a lot of attention to the information you want to present.

The first line should let the audience know what you will be talking about and your own point of view on the subject. In the body paragraphs, it would be necessary to give the reader a full idea of what happened (personal experience, a particular event, etc.) and how you feel about it. Your story can be told chronologically, or you can just group the facts by importance.

In the end, you will need to wrap everything up and present the main idea of your story, whether it is a lesson that you’ve learned, the impact of a particular experience, etc. Using this type of personal essay format will allow the author to keep their audience in an interactive manner throughout the entire piece.

Writing A Rough Draft & Submitting

After you have completed all the previous steps, it’s time to write a rough draft. Writing a rough draft gives you the opportunity to get some new ideas about what you're writing. Moreover, it’s a great place to polish your essay up and correct small grammar, spelling and other types of mistakes. Get a second pair of eyes: No one can rate your writing as well as a neutral party. As soon as you have checked everything, you can start to write the final paper.

writing and submitting process

Before submitting your personal essay, double check everything once again and make sure to present the central theme. After it, go through it and proofread your entire piece. It is somewhat frustrating to read an essay full of grammatical mistakes, which can be easily avoided. You can ask your classmate for help, so by that way, you will save each other. Just don't forget to meet the deadline and you're officially finished!

Personal Essay Examples

In our time it’s much more easier to find things on the Internet, and examples are not an exception. Remember one simple thing, not everything that you can find on the Internet is done correctly. If you need some inspiration to get started, you can find several examples of personal essays below, or you can use our free essay samples to sharpen your skills on any type of writing.


Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

As a writer, I love writing personal stories with different perspectives and approaches as well as unique styles. There are a few tips I can give you for writing these personal pieces of work. My first and foremost tip is that you must use sensory detail and vivid description. My second tip for you is to combine personal experience with universal experiences. This will help you develop a story that is relatable and deep. Another tip that I have for you is that you find your voice and use it; if you’re original in your writing, you will be more memorable to your reader. Another tip is to not be general while you write. When you create a story, you wanna be as specific as possible in your themes and descriptions. Write about something that has meaning to you, but narrow it down to something concrete. My last and probably most important tip is to have fun while writing! Experiment with metaphors and words! Add surprises to your writing. This type of essay is supposed to be fun to write.

Writer Bonnie Lawson, from EssayPro

Confused by the Personal Essay?

Struggling to find the creative juices to complete your personal essay? However, there is no need to worry. Simply contact EssayPro and ask one of our experts to help write an essay.

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