Tips for Writing a Personal Essay – Poynter

It’s amazing how vulnerable the experience of writing a personal essay for an unknown audience can be, and it truly is a great act of courage to share meaningful, personal breakthroughs and stories. You’re right, though, I often find in reading the personal essays that others write that it helps me to clarify and validate my own experiences, which is invaluable!

Other misguided gimmicks that a surprising number of writers attempt when writing personal essays:

Writing the Personal Essay: A Weekend Workshop
"Personal Essay" is a broad term that encompasses both serious and humorous essays, opinion pieces, and first person articles, but which always details the writer's journey through a specific experience. This workshop teaches aspiring personal essayists how to be a compelling first-person narrator and employ craft elements such as theme, character development, voice, pacing, scene-setting, and exposition to tell their stories. The goal is to complete at least 1 personal essay (500-1,500 words) and develop material for future essays.


How To Write A Personal Essay - Publishers Weekly

This video was created to help 4th and 5th graders write a personal narrative essay.For more info visit

And yeah, writing personal essays is just as freakin’ hard as writing anything else. Because of what I write about (food), and because it happens to be what I’m like, I do an awful lot of research to write any essay. Half of it might end up on the page, if I’m lucky. But even if I wasn’t researching the history of or science behind whatever it is that I’m writing about, producing something that makes sense and that is hopefully at least a little bit interesting is tough. So much has to be processed, and sentences and paragraphs and sections have to be refined and structured… Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself! (And certainly I wonder much of the time whether I do it well.)