April Volume 71 Number 7 Writing: When George Lucas was making Star Wars, his special effects team was at a loss as to how to film realistic-looking dogfight scenes.
If so, rest assured that you are not alone. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when writing a personal essay, from which details are the most intriguing to potential readers to developing your own personal experiences into a story and knowing how to write sensitively about subjects and people in your life without causing offense.
A good place to start with any kind of essay is this paragraph and essay writing course on Udemy. It will walk you through the basic skills that you need to know as well as give you more advanced tips and tricks for writing great essays. However, there is still more that you need to know for this particular type of essay.
One thing to keep in mind is that for your personal essay to really stand out, you need to write about an experience that not everybody goes through.
An important experience like your wedding day, the birth of a child or sibling, or an achievement such as graduating high school may have deep meaning for you. However, these are things that many people go through, and may not be particularly interesting for a reader.
Think instead of the personal struggles that you might have gone through to make those accomplishments possible, and write about that instead.
There are many great courses on Udemy that can help you learn how to come up with great ideas. Consider checking one out if you regularly find yourself blocked creativity, or if you find that your ideas are a bit on the bland side.
Beginning Your Essay Your personal essay is essentially the story of your life — or at least, the story of one important moment or journey you have made in your life. Therefore, you should try as much as possible to think of your essay as if it were a story.
At best, you are telling the reader something that they already know. Try opening your personal essay by saying something unexpected, or by opening with a vivid and exciting memory from your life that ties directly into the essay you are writing.
Look at these examples for contrast: First and foremost, do remember that you should choose the appropriate material for the audience you are writing for. While it may be okay to talk about a topic such as mental illness or poverty in an essay for a university application, you likely would not want to discuss any questionable things you might have done in the past, such as cheating on exams in high school.
Remember that when it comes to writing personal essays, it is okay to change some details or facts such as names and dates if you find it necessary to do so out of respect for others.
Ending the Essay For many people, the only thing harder than beginning a personal essay is ending one.
First, where does the story that you are telling end? If you were telling the story of recovering after the death of a loved one, you might choose the moment where you finally began to heal.
If you were telling the story of overcoming a problem such as dyslexia, you could end with getting your first A in English class. You may also consider an ending that mirrors the beginning of your essay.
If you started with the story of being bullied, you may end your essay by talking about how you helped another person who was being bullied.
Udemy offers a course on memoir writing that could be ideal for those looking to go deeper into writing about the things that they have experienced in their lives. Be sure to check the course out so you can write the best personal essay possible.The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
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