Tips For Writing a Personal Essay

By: Henrique Bertulino

8 min



Tips For Writing a Personal Essay

Definition of a Personal Essay

A personal essay is a narrative about the writer’s experience. It is true to how they feel and their emotions must be reflected in the topic. It is a great way for the writers to tell their story rather than writing about someone else or a fictional narrative.

Personal Essay Subjects

Students often feel annoyed when they have to come up with a subject to write a personal essay on. They don't realize that a personal essay is personal to the writer. It must appeal to your reader as your creative idea. Coming up with a subject might take longer than usual, but once you know what your topic is, writing becomes more comfortable for you! Always come up with a subject that resonates with you, and you feel satisfied with. You can view personal essay examples online to see how writers do it.

Some exciting subjects to attract an audience are listed below for your ease!

  • Things life has taught you about people.
  • How did life experiences mold you?
  • The best place to escape the worries of life.
  • Best time of your life.
  • Your favorite childhood memory.
  • A turn of events that changed you.
  • The favorite time of your day.

Ways to Choose a Good Topic For Your Personal Essay

The best way to choose a topic is to see it through the frame of your life. You should choose a topic that helps you talk about your experiences and what you learned from those events. It should reflect your perception and outlook on the world.

Your topic mustn’t just show your experience but also be relevant to your readers. Your audience must be able to relate to the topic you write. The topic should influence them into considering your ideas and interest them in reading further, making them feel like something similar has happened in their lives. A part of your narrative should always be about attracting the reader through similar experiences.

Try to think outside the small box of limited ideas, even if you're a student who is new to writing. Come up with unique topics. They will challenge your abilities and strengthen your skills as a writer. Never shy away from slightly difficult personal essays. You can look at personal statement examples online to guide yourself. Personal essays build writers. Your personal essay reflects your personality and writing more than the topic itself. But never forget that the topic is what attracts a reader!

Personal Essay Topics to Give You a Head Start

  • What do you fear the most in life?
  • How has failure contributed to your personal growth?
  • What have you learned from your parents' life experiences?
  • What do you see in your personality inside out?
  • Has raising your voice been a power to you?
  • The last time you felt adventurous.
  • Your bravest moments in life.
  • Your contribution to the community.
  • Things that you're thankful for in life.
  • Why do people take their loved ones for granted?
  • Your most powerful emotion.
  • How do you make difficult decisions?
  • The saddest you've ever felt.
  • The line between joy and sadness.
  • Your most significant learning in life.
  • How should we treat life lessons?
  • Which moment of your life would you want to relive?
  • What's the perfect job for you?
  • A decision that still makes you feel guilty.
  • An act of kindness you can never forget.
  • What is beauty in your eyes?
  • What is the best thing about your morals and character?

The Structure of Your Essay

The structure of a personal essay is relatively simple. It doesn't complicate the writing style or have too many elements to focus on. It is the reason why most writers love personal essays. They're easy to write on and will give you the power to influence many individuals simultaneously. As simple as its structure is, it is still essential to follow it. You must follow a proper structure because it builds the topic on every step. You can't turn your paper into mayhem! It must be a smooth piece of writing with a good flow.


Start your personal essays with introductory paragraphs. They should introduce you to the background of your topic and the main idea of it. Try to start it with a strong hook to make it appealing. It can be a humorous joke, a serious dialogue, or a warning. The purpose is to increase the curiosity of our readers. Your thesis statement comes at the end of this paragraph if your essay involves opinion writing.


You can then move on to the body paragraphs of your essays. Here, you can give structure and details to your narrative. Start building your plot or argument. It should be detailed. A reader is most interested when the writing appeals to their senses. Write in a way that involves emotions and feelings which resonate with the audience.

They should be able to follow your stories clearly, so be clear with your writing.


Finally, you can move to the concluding paragraph. The climax of your stories often concludes. It must always have personal values and elements which can be traced back to you as a writer.

What Do Personal Essays Contribute to Your Personality?

Besides asking how to write an essay, students often ask what essays even contribute to their personalities. Well, we can't blame them. Students are curious about everything they learn and want to know how it benefits them.

No one wants to invest in something useless, right? A typical response to this that people come up with is that personal essays will help you practice for your college application personal statements. There is some truth in this line, but not all. Writing personal essays has many more benefits for a writer and their personal development. Besides expressing your view and letting out your personal life story, personal essays have advantages that only professional writers will realize at this point.

Personal Essays Strengthen Your Communication Skills

Communication is the key to success! A person who can be clear without dragging sentences and expresses well, unsurprisingly, remains in the good books of potential employers. It is a competent skill that helps you with writing and strengthens your interview skills. It will give you the confidence to speak better and present yourself in the best light!

Clear writing and using vital phrases to communicate with the readers is an art. It is not everyone's cup of tea. As you focus more on sharing your ideas and thoughts through writing personal statements, you will realize how far you have come just by writing essays.

So if you want to make your communication skills useful, the first thing you need to do is start writing. We know you might not feel comfortable with direct communication with people initially, so focus on writing more.

Critical Thinking Is Important For Growth

When you focus on a topic and write on it, you tend to analyze it critically in every way. If you keep doing this, your brain starts to evaluate everything. Personal essays are, therefore, a great way to develop healthy critical thinking! Your ideas become more imaginative, as well as relatable. You will quickly learn how to evaluate and learn clichés, idioms, and other devices used in standard literature! Critical thinking is a rare skill that will take you miles away from where you're standing right now.

Maturity Is Important

Real growth lies in mental maturity. When you write about your personal experiences, you tend to think about them. Your perception broadens, and you realize how your experience contributed to different life lessons. It makes your thought process more mature, and you start understanding other people and their actions better. You can analyze their common excuses better. It is a quality that employers look for in their managers as they have to deal with people's teams and have to keep them in line.

Common Mistakes By Young Writers in Personal Essays

Know that your essay is your opportunity to express. Don't use it to repel the readers. Try to stay as positive as you can. Even if you express sadness, don't show it as though you're venting out about an issue that haunts you. It's okay to sound sad, but don't be depressed.

Try to add links to your personal essay. Each paragraph should introduce a new idea linked to the previous one. If the essay structure is entirely independent of its parts, the reader cannot relate to any of those and might stop reading the writing. Only add ideas and narrative writing that is related to your topic. Don't jump here and there.

Don't write extremely long essays. Give yourself a word limit suitable for your topic. Avoid using colloquial, boring language. Take care of grammar. You can use dialogues and figurative techniques. Avoid stating things as they are. It comes across as boring. Express yourself in every sentence. You need to be vulnerable to your readers. If you hold back, your feelings and emotions will fade from the essay, and it won't be unique to you.

Format For a Personal Essay

  • Try to come up with topics that ignite inner conflicts to come out. Don’t use boring everyday topics. Once you have decided what your topic will be, move onto the introduction.
  • Your introduction must begin with a hook. It should be exciting and should introduce the background and thesis of your essay. You can seek help from common app essay prompts to guide yourself better.
  • Start developing the characters and plot of your essay in detail. Write from your perspective in the body paragraph.
  • Add a climax to your conclusion. Once you're done, ask someone you trust to proofread it for you!

Now that you have almost all the important information for your essay, quit procrastinating, and start working.

User ratings:

User ratings is 4.5 stars.

4.5/5 (11 Votes)

Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

Add Your Comment

We are very interested to know your opinion

Name Email
Get Help