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Personal Essay

Among all kinds of essays the personal one is probably the most astonishing and intimate. The author may write either about his or her own life experience or depict the story of somebody else. The main accent is placed on personal evaluation and author's individual perception of the material. Very often the text and stories are autobiographical. In such case the content is based on emotions and feeling of a single person.

Biographical essays are often ambivalent. One emotion is described in details because it was very important for the author. Another is depicted generally and impartially. Many heated discussions are devoted to the difference between male and female personal writing. Some tend to think that men are more realistic and fact-concentrated while women are too sentimental, they pay huge attention to details and outline the happy ending. Others stick to almost contrary thought that final part is more important for men and women are focused on illusive perception without analyzing the future aspects.

What Is a Personal Essay and How to Make It Appealing?

A personal essay is considered one of the most interesting and engaging types of papers. This kind of academic work is regarded as one of the most widespread patterns of creative writing. One should know that a personal essay can describe writer’s personal or professional experience in a certain area. In addition, this type of paper can share writer’s viewpoint on a specific issue. The following article discloses valuable information about the personal essay, its characteristic features and peculiarities of writing.

Personal and Formal Essay: What Is the Difference?

It is necessary to state that there is a distinct difference between these two types of papers. A personal essay recounts author’s personal experience. In this case, there is no need to support the made statements with compelling arguments. The writer has to present the discussed topic to readers and describe the feelings and emotions relating to it. A personal essay is called the autobiographical one. As to the formal essay, it is necessary to formulate a statement and prove it by providing strong evidence. In order to gather concrete facts about the issue, the writer should conduct thorough research.

Defining a Personal Essay

A personal essay can be of two types: narrative and opinion. The former describes the situations the writer has faced with and states what lessons the writer has drawn from gained experience. The latter presents the author’s position on the addressed matter.

Narrative Form of a Personal Essay

This type of paper has the following features:

  • It depicts the events which the writer considers important. It may also describe the situations that have strongly influenced writer’s life and outlook on particular issues.
  • It has the peculiarities of a narrative paper. The writer uses different literary devices to help readers clearly imagine the described events. This essay usually includes dialogues.
  • It is produced by using the personal pronoun “I.”
  • It is an autobiography outlining the crucial moments that have enhanced writer’s personal development.
  • It gives an insight into writer’s life. As it has been mentioned above, a personal essay describes the events that have happened in author’s life. However, it is not just a description of a series of events. When introducing a topic, it is necessary to show the turning point that has made a great impact on the author.
  • It is of a subjective character. When covering the topic, the writer shares his/her opinion and expresses his/her emotions and feelings.
  • The writer provides facts about the discussed matter.
  • The author describes true-to-life events.
  • The writer makes the story sound dramatic by adopting different methods. The author vividly describes the scene by providing colorful details.

Personal Essay in the Form of an Opinion Paper

A personal essay may have the peculiarities of an opinion paper. It can present the writer’s point of view on a particular social or political issue. When dealing with such a work, it is necessary to identify the problem first. Then, it is required to offer a possible solution to the described issue and, finally, make a conclusion which should present an important statement. No matter the topic you choose for preparing the paper, it should be appealing to you. When creating your piece of writing, you may need to find an explanation to a certain phenomenon that has occurred in your life. You may also pose a question and try to find its precise answer. You should not force readers to take your position. On the contrary, let readers choose on their own whether to share your opinion about the discussed topic or not.

A personal essay presenting writer’s personal point of view on a particular issue has the following traits:

  1. It is written in the form of a dialogue.
  2. It is a combination of narration, arguments, and writer’s personal style.
  3. A personal essay explores a specific topic from the writer’s point of view.
  4. The writer’s “self” can be the subject of the paper. However, it should be regarded as a supporting argument for the made claims.
  5. It may contain extracts of a narrative character which usually serve as arguments.
  6. The aim of a personal essay is to state obvious points and arrive at a logical conclusion. It is up to readers to decide whether to agree with the concluding point or not.
  7. It can analyze the addressed matter painstakingly to help readers properly understand who the writer is. It gives readers an opportunity to find out how the undertaken activities and faced situations influenced the author.

One should know that a personal essay is not an objective piece of writing. Therefore, when producing it, you do not need to provide arguments and hard facts to uphold a particular issue or consider the matter from different angles. At the same time, you should express your feelings and thoughts about the discussed topic.

Best Personal Essay Topics

You are free to write your personal essay about everything you want. You can produce a paper about one of the precious moments of your life. Additionally, you can discuss such essential notions as death, love, life, etc. Whatever the subject you choose, it should show readers that you have learnt a good lesson from your experience. However, you should not just state what has happened to you. Your task is to provide readers with a valuable piece of writing uncovering the truth about some important life issues. If you do not achieve such a goal, your paper will be just a narration talking about:

  • Jokes
  • Memorable moments
  • Personal experience
  • Key events
  • Some situations, etc.

Note that your personal opinion about a particular issue which you consider important, e.g. crime, terrorism, etc., can be the subject of your essay as well.

Picking a Topic

Try to write a paper on the topic which you are interested in. Follow the steps given below:

  1. Your paper should have an investigating character. Answer 5 Wh-questions: Who? When? Why? What? Where?
  2. Examine your topic. Make a list of points you are going to discuss. Highlight subtopics.
  3. Brainstorm ideas for covering the chosen topic.
  4. Make your topic specific. It is not worth producing your essay on such a general subject as climate changes, for example. You may create a piece of writing on the following topics: “How to protect ozone layer” or “How to recycle paper properly.”
  5. Think about a key moment in your life. What did you feel at that moment? Did you obtain valuable experience?
  6. Make sure that your paper discusses one of the eternal topics, i.e. love, betrayal, death, etc.
  7. Remember that your personal essay should arouse readers’ emotions. Thus, you need to write the paper that will make readers cry, laugh, hate, sympathize or experience any other feelings.
  8. In case you have ever found yourself in a terrible or funny situation, feel free to write about it in your paper.
  9. Describe the event that has changed your life completely.

Learn Useful Lessons from Your Mistakes

  • Create the paper that will not leave readers indifferent. You need to present the subject in such a way that will make readers ponder over it. Help readers start valuing common things in life.
  • Do not be ashamed of describing a ridiculous event that has taken place in your life.
  • Do not be afraid of presenting your point of view on the matter you are going to analyze.
  • Do not lie! Be yourself and present only hard facts about the issue.

Where to Get Inspiration for Writing a Personal Essay?

If you want to understand how to write an interesting personal essay, you should look through some useful books on this topic. For example, you may use a book written by Lee Gutkind called “The Art of Creative Nonfiction” or any other one to get valuable ideas for preparing an impressive piece of writing. Browse the Internet to find the one that is the most suitable for you.

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