How to Write a Personal Essay Effortlessly
Answering the question, “How to write a personal essay?” people usually apply a rule of thumb laying down that a personal experience essay must be comprised of introduction, three body paragraphs putting forward three main points, and conclusion. Overall, an about me essay does not presuppose that you talk non-stop about pedestrian details of your existence; instead, choose a couple of memorable scenes from your life etched in your memory that for some reasons mean the world to you. Topics can be as simple as falling in love head over heels, surviving the most embarrassing situation ever, discovering something novel that has modified your outlook, or facing a moral dilemma that put you in a difficult position.
The bottom line here is to keep your readership captivated by being outright and candid. Particularly, you should let your innermost thoughts, concerns, or fears flow like a river on paper, creating an illusion of reading a page from a diary. Hence, it is pivotal to incorporate real-life examples and omit abstract concepts that hardly relate to your own experience. Apart from such trite topics as, “A Life-Changing Event,” “A Person Who Influenced My Life Greatly,” or “An Experience that Has Shaped Me as a Personality,” you can opt for a very intimate story featuring:
- your first sexual encounter;
- a grueling struggle with your complexes;
- parent and child clashes that spurred you to run away;
- moments when you felt suicidal and plausible remedies for an emotional breakdown that helped you sail through a nerve-racking stage in your life;
- things/events that prompt you to ruminate over your mission in this world;
- your fight with a debilitating emotional or physical condition;
- a point in your life when you ventured on making a fateful decision, such as making a baby, moving to another city/country, or stepping into a new career path.
You can write about yourself or some aspect of your life in a purely speculative manner, reflecting on missed opportunities, things that could have happened if it had not been for a special event/person, or memories that you are plagued with. By unveiling some of the vicissitudes of your life, using specific true-life examples, and adhering to a five paragraph structure, you could easily craft an insightful and touching personal essay.
How to Start a Narrative Essay about Yourself
Evidently, it’s almost impossible to put pen to paper instantaneously, especially if you are baffled by the question, “How to start a narrative essay?” that keeps popping up in your head in the first place. Thus, here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a personal narrative essay from scratch successfully, as it will assist you in every step of the way of composing your personal essay with its trials and tribulations.
Everyone’s life with its foibles, truths, eye-openers, and lessons is compelling in a way and deserves to be perpetuated on paper. The trouble is, not all know how to write a feature story that would not only resonate with others but also have a profound didactic or entertaining effect depending on the purpose of your writing. Therefore, we suggest that you pay heed to the following tips on how to start an essay about yourself:
Understand the Definition of a Personal Essay and its Composition
Personal essays revolve around the author’s intimate thoughts, revelations, or experiences that are somehow connected to universal truths and consequently relatable to every reader. However, it’s not just about recounting a certain event since the main point of writing is to arrive at a conclusion in the end, to alter your standpoint, or to grow in some way. Additionally, it frequently includes a main idea, an insight, or some truth that would provoke readers to contemplate or learn their own lesson.
Make use of a standard personal essay format mentioned above. Your introductory paragraph should have a hook that grabs readers’ attention and makes them proceed with reading. First and foremost, come up with an arresting topic and reinforce it with an underlying idea you want to communicate through your essay making it the last sentence of your introduction. Remember, it should be a mind-blowing part!
The body is often made up of three paragraphs beginning with a central point. The subsequent sentences provide supporting information about the point, whereas a concluding sentence explains what you are trying to say and leads to the next point. Each new idea signifies that you need to start a new paragraph; accordingly, to achieve cohesion, each paragraph should have a smooth transition to the next point. Also, keep your writing style succinct.
Your conclusion should generalize the ideas you got across and introduce the upshot, i.e. your final opinion. Here, you present insights gained, the truths discovered, or lessons learned. Alternatively, you may elaborate on how you were or will be changed owing to your view on the topic. Bear in mind that the most appropriate conclusions are those that echo with an opening paragraph.
Find a Source of Inspiration for Your Topic
Sometimes, it is unbelievably hard to have a flash of inspiration, especially when you are in dire need of it! Here are a couple of suggestions for brainstorming imaginative ideas:
- Utilize a stream of consciousness to kick off the writing process.
- Incessantly write whatever springs to mind until you reach at least three pages.
- Do not stop even if you have writer’s block and your sketch seems to be nonsense.
- Conduct a little research. Often, browsing unleashes your creativity. Do not mirror other people’s ideas; instead, let them inspire you to hit upon your own ones.
Map out an Outline
Ask any writing expert, “How to start a personal essay?” and they will say, “Garner ideas and then move on to creating an outline.” Yes, the outline is an integral component of the whole process, as it enables to organize your flow of thoughts in a coherent piece of writing. If you get down to composing an essay right away, you will end up being in a muddle and trying to squeeze overlooked details in.
Apart from drawing up the sequence of events, it is crucial to present them in ascending order from the least important to the most important narrative element of your story until you come to a climax. Do not forget about a thought-provoking conclusion evoking an emotional response or a call for action in your readers.
Blend the Personal and Universal
Although this essay is about your private life, all its details, namely characters, the setting, and the plot should boil down to a larger theme, a deeper meaning, or a common truth concealed between the lines that everyone can relate to.
Appeal to the Visual Sense
Close your eyes and immerse in the scene you are about to describe. What were you feeling at that moment? Use your five senses to convey your emotional state.
Incorporate sensory details and vivid descriptive language to arouse those feelings without directly stating them. Do not say, “I was so frustrated that I was about to cry.” It is better to say, “A twinge of frustration was so powerful that in split seconds it permeated my head and my soul. I was attempting to tame it not wanting anybody to see me going to pieces, but my damp eyes were a tangible sign of my failure to restrain myself from crying.” Put your reader in your shoes by including such emotional disclosures.
Rotate Focusing in and Out
Pick specific yet momentous moments, memories, or emotions and expound on them to communicate the theme and purpose. Imagine that you are filming a story rather than writing about it, slowing down the action to bring something important to the reader’s notice.
Apply Language Devices to Look More Professional
Language is one of the paramount criteria for evaluating your essay. Therefore, you have to polish up your writing style by adding colorful language and literary devices, including metaphors, epithets, personification, similes, oxymoron, metonymy, etc. Furthermore, you can experiment with syntactical techniques to enrich your essay. Make use of repetition, run-on sentences, ellipsis, etc.
Improve Your Grammar
English grammar is tricky. If you need to brush up on this aspect, dive in the old-school grammar book Harbrace College Handbook. Alternate active and passive voices to sound more natural. Moreover, make sure you follow the principle of sequence of tenses; if your story unfolds in the past tense, please stick to it.
Meticulous editing is imperative as soon as you are done with your draft. At this point, try to be hard on yourself and check every tiny detail.
Develop a Habit of Reading
If you are willing to hone your essay writing skills, read exemplary essays! Savor the play of language and the art of creating a seamlessly woven plot. This is where your own brilliant ideas are likely to come from. To win promotion to a writer, become an avid reader first.
Now, you are aware of how to write an essay about yourself and can engage in this activity to the fullest. You will definitely succeed as long as you are passionate about the topic you are writing about.