Understanding personal essay writing process


Writing a personal essay is a process like other writing, but it has some distinct steps that can be helpful when crafting it. When writing any essay there is a structure to the writing and a personal essay also has structure, but it has the overlay of the personal aspects, too.

When writing a personal essay, it is important to think about how your past can be told in a way that is interesting and on target for the essay’s topic. As you recall the experiences in your life, consider how you have grown from them, any humorous moments and lessons learned. Is there one that is particularly poignant or scary or funny or emotional? Those climactic events might be the place to start your personal essay. Once you decide what event or events are will be included, then you must decide what feeling or emotion you want your reader to have as a result of your essay. This will help you to decide the best tactic for describing the events.

  • Creating a first draft is the beginning of the process. This draft can be a first attempt at the topic. Getting the information down and the details in place is the point of the first draft. From there, the shape and the refining can begin.
  • Revision is the nest step. This is where the grammar and mechanics must be checked to make sure that the piece flows. Also, reading through the essay to make sure that the events are in sequential or logical order and the overall tone of the piece is what the writer wants it to be. Add details that are concrete and use descriptive language that can vividly paint a picture for the reader in this draft.
  • Getting a reader is always a good idea because that person may catch things that slip through when the author of the essay is reading it.
  • Keep the emotion or action going through to the end. Make sure that the conclusion of the piece is as strong as the introduction and the body of the piece. Don’t disappoint the reader at the close of the essay.

A personal essay is one that can convey great detail and evoke emotions from the reader when crafted well. Allowing enough time to write drafts and revise the essay is a key to making it a well written piece.