If you are taking an English class in college, a time may come when your professor will ask you to write a personal essay. It might seem like the professor is punishing you, but once you know the steps to write a personal essay, you will discover that it is one of the easiest essays you will ever write. You might not realize this, but everyone, including you, has an awesome story to tell about themselves. So instead of groaning, look at this personal essay as an opportunity to make yourself shine.
How to Write a Personal Essay
When your professor tells you to write a personal essay, you have to believe it is for a good reason. Writing a personal essay takes creativity and showcases your composition and language skills in the best light. So here are eight steps to help you compose a professional piece that will earn those high marks:
1. Read Other Essays
When writing any type of paper, preparation is key, especially if you are trying to avoid getting a writer’s block. Reading other essays helps you in two ways: it makes you a better writer, and it gives you inspiration when it comes to crafting your own paper. Do you know that people who make the best writers are also avid readers? There are a lot of places to find professionally written personal essays, such as newspapers, magazines, books, and college websites. While reading the essays, Be sure to pay attention to how each sentence and paragraph flows from one to the next, and how it is all connected to make a coherent piece.
2. Brainstorm Some Ideas
Many people find it hard to get started when writing an essay. Taking time to brainstorm can give you plenty of ideas on what to write about yourself. So if you have been having trouble coming up with a topic for your personal essay, try the following brainstorming exercises:
- Make a list of all your personality traits, strengths, and quirks, focusing on how they make you a unique individual;
- List down all the beliefs and personal opinions that you hold so strongly and explain them;
- Make a list of the things you do not like about yourself as well (character flaws);
- Make a list of all the stories from the past you can remember about yourself and use one of them as the basis of your personal essay.
Once you do these brainstorming exercises, you will definitely find something to write about and get started with in your personal essay.
3. Create an Outline
Like any essay, your personal essay should have an outline consisting of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should be one paragraph and the place where you hook your reader, preferably in the first sentence. The body will consist of several paragraphs that build up from the hook and provide the sequence or events that support the hook. Make sure that you tell your personal story in a way that each paragraph is more exciting than the last, all the way to the climax. The conclusion is also one paragraph and serves as the perfect place to spark an emotional response from your reader that leaves them on a high note.
4. Be Specific
One thing you must avoid at all cost is making your essay general. To that end, you must infuse the essay with your own personal voice as much as possible, telling the reader how the events are significant to you on a personal level. For example, if the story is about your biggest success or failure or the angriest you have ever been, explain it in such a way that the reader can tell how it shaped you to become the person you are today. You should also tell it in a creative way, which leads us to the next point.
5. Paint Them a Picture
Do not just flatly state what was happening during these events. Describe all the relevant things that will enable the reader to step into your shoes and experience the event, from the sights, smells, all the way to the emotions you felt. Paint them a picture, instead of just telling them what happened. Instead of saying “It made me angry.” Say “I held my breath, trying as much as I could not to scream or punch the wall. I could feel the anger rising like a volcano that has been dormant for a long time. I was about to explode like Mount Vesuvius, and the person my anger was directed to was about to be Pompeii.” And just like that, you have shown the reader how angry you were instead of just telling them.
6. Be Honest
Just because you have to be creative, does not mean you should include fictional elements in your story just to make it more interesting. Be honest and describe everything exactly as it happened. If you make things up, your professor will most likely figure it out and you will lose marks. Just describe the events that shaped you as they really happened and in the most creative possible way.
7. Proofread and Edit
After you finish your first draft, you have to edit, edit, and edit some more. If your personal essay contains a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes, it will be hard to read, and the story you are trying to tell will have less of an impact. So make sure to go through your essay at least two times to make sure there are no mistakes. Also, you should get someone else who has not read it yet to proofread it for you. Other people can catch mistakes that you missed.
8. Get Feedback
There are people who know you and your character and can tell if your personal essay reflects you in the most accurate way. These people include your family, friends and maybe even your professor. So let them have a look and suggest edits if any.
As you can see, writing a personal essay is not all that difficult. If you follow the steps outlined above, you will be able to craft a professional piece next time you are asked to write a personal essay. If you are still having trouble writing your personal essay, you can buy a cheap essay from a custom writing service. Many students use these services to get professionally written papers, whether it is a personal essay or custom research paper. Just be sure to check out the custom writing reviews of the service to make sure you are really getting a professional piece.