Improve your Writing (Elements of the Personal Essay)

in #writing4 years ago

"For more than four hundred years, the personal essay has been one of the richest and most vibrant of all literary forms" (The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate).

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When it comes to personal essays, it is important to remember that they are different to other formal writing. A personal essay is based on experiences that the writer has gone through and learnt from. There is no evidence needed or arguments needed to support the writing.

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The elements:

There are many elements, but here are the ones I would like to cover:

  • Epiphany
  • Suspense
  • Climax
  • Self-honesty
  • Description

That "aha" moment, when the light bulb turns on and you realise something. There are many ways to present this in your writing. One common way is when the writer talks about an experience and says "I then realised".

Don't be creating a horror movie... or a drama, but make sure to write so that you keep your reader wanting more. No use in making your writing boring, captivate your reader.

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Make sure your writing is headed or pointing towards a main event or experience. This could even be a turning point, just make sure that you begin and end your climax well and that it all ties into it.


This is not an essay on bragging, that cases a reader away. Rather, when writing your essay, show your weaknesses and flaws so the reader can relate and even feel empathy for you. Your reader will respect your honesty, but don't share to much. Some things are best left unsaid, and keep it that way.

Description plays a very important part in how effective your writing will be on the reader. Leave a mark in your readers mind, make sure they will remember what they have read and learnt from your essay. Paint a picture for your reader, make their mind think and wonder upon what you have written. Make them feel what you feeling, not by telling them how you feel, but showing them. Us a few metaphors, they will help you.

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Happy 4th of July. One year from the first payout and grand opening.

Just on a little side note for self improvement. I will be doing pushups, situps and squats for the amount of $$$ (ratio;$1:1) I earn on this post and will give a short feedback every day at the end of each post. This will be split in equally between all 3. Any not done will carry onto the next day.


Well done post You deserve for getting Upvote from me. I appreciate on it and like it so much . Waiting for your latest post. Keep your good work and steeming on. Let's walk to my blog. I have a latest post. Your upvote is high motivation for me. Almost all Steemians do their best on this site. Keep steeming and earning.

Thank you for your upvote. I will have a look at your posts

This comment has received a 0.08 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @hamzaoui.

This is very helpful @dragonslayer109 and a good thing for most of our members here, thanks

well done, concise and straight to the point, the elements you pointed out are very pertinent indeed. don't know if you've been through it but I found Joseph Campbell's MonoMyth and Kurt Vonnegut's The Shape of Stories, as very insightful inspirations to my writing, particularly for poetry and fiction.

Thank you very much for those valuable tips :)
Have a wonderful day! ;)

@dragonslayer109 - A fantastic treatise of the personal essay. You have correctly emphasized the 'personal experience' part of such essay writing. I am thrilled to see the simple and to the point explanation you have provided for 'epiphany' . I must adopt it successfully in my blog writing. I am always wondering if I write about those 'Aha' moments in a very cliche sort of a way.


I have posted a blog about an Orange Moon today . I request you to take a look if you have time and are interested. I would love to get your comments. Thanks

Thank you. I will have a look at your post :)

Very good tips here. I will try to apply a few ideas in my next creative writing piece. Cheers.

I am going to use this post as guide. Thanks @dragonslayer109. I am doing average so far, but I needed this, step by step, to do better.

Great tips. I would definitely agree that suspense and self-honesty are the two things that differentiate good essays from boring ones. Thanks!

Full of useful info..thanks and following

Very goof information dragonslayer109 i follow you now.

Some more great tips.
Regarding self-honesty I think this is the best way to improve your writing as you can reflect and look at the feedback to see where you are falling down, enhancing your writing.
I upvoted, let's see how many pushups, situps and squats you will have to do.
I wish you the best of luck with whatever amount you get.

Thank you, I have done 50 so far so I am half way there.

Well structured post. I want to level up my game so i have been searching for material like this. If you keep this up you are gonna get really fit :P

I will always have the upshups :)

I guess you could call this post... Well described, *wink wink, notch notch *

I will show myself out.

Once again excellent advice. I hope you'll do enough pushups to be sore for weeks.

Nice post! Followed. Happy 4th of July!

many thanks - i had no idea there was simple rules that could improve my writing and make it more pleasurable for the reader

Making me a better writer every day. thanks for always sharing great tips and helping us all write better! keep up the good work

Looking forward to pics of your pushup endeavors!

jk, keep up the good work!

I always learn something from you. 🙂

But this time I also have a problem. - I didn't get this side note! What are you going to do exactly?

I really suck at writing thanks a lot for these useful tips and keep on posting ;)

Hello my dear friend
You are flattered
I gave upvvote this post
Good luck ♥

Good essay on writing good personal essays @dragonslayer109. I'll utilize these tips as I create new posts.

Faultless, perfect!

many thanks for sharing this knowledge @dragonslayer109

Thanks for the post, I like the self-honesty part, I'm going to inject more of that into my writing :) I have a feeling that will be easier too since I'm actually wording my real thoughts. I'm a persistent minnow struggling to survive and grow in this big Steemit Ocean ;)

Best advice about writing essays comes in the last paragraph..."Paint a picture for your readers" ... enjoyable read...upvoted.

You are right, the picture is the most important part.

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What setting are you in?
Build some tension.
Make it climax!
Tie up the loose ends.
End the story :D
(And remember: Show, don't tell)

Can never be said enough !!

Helpful for us that are writing more due to trying to get this great platform more popular!

Very well articulated... Thanks @dragonslayer109 for sharing valuable tips.

Thanks for this, I need all the help I can get!

I upvoted only so that you die doing those pushups and situps. No cheating. All of them either Tabata style or in one straight set! Waiting for video proof. =)

Happy 4th of July to you also :)

You are doing an excellent thing posting things that we have forgot way back. I wonder kids these days even write essays.

I think their essays look like texting :D

Haha...mA lVf mA rUlZ... Grommar SuKz

I would like to read one of your personal essay(s). If you have one posted on Steemit, please provide the link. Thanks.

Excellent tips for beginners.

These are good things to keep in mind when I am doing a post. Thanks for reminding me of the basics. 🐓🐓