What is a Personal Essay? (with pictures) - wiseGEEK

A personal essay is an essay about your life, thoughts, or experiences.

Overcoming the Hardship of Writing a Personal Essay

The Personal Essay is all about TMI (too much information). It tells you its deepest fears, most disgusting habits, and most loathsome opinions. It picks its nose in public, tells you about its bowel movements, and walks around without pants on—even when your friends are over. In fact, the whole point of the Personal Essay is to embarrass itself. Lopate puts it eloquently when he says that, “the ‘plot’ of a personal essay…consists in watching how far the essayist can drop past his or her psychic defenses toward deeper levels of honesty.”

Ability to write a personal essay comes through regular practice. So, use the tips and keep writing.

What Makes an Exciting Personal Essay? - Privatewriting

A personal essay is a piece of writing that addresses a given topic from the writer's own perspective, usually including some examples from the person’s life to support the main ideas. It allows readers to get a sense of someone’s abilities and personality, so some people see it as a type of interview. Although it is similar to other formal papers in that it usually needs at least five paragraphs, the use of “I” language and acceptance of bias make it distinct. Many people have trouble constructing one, but most of the problems authors encounter are either avoidable or can be fixed.

In the comments: have you ever written a personal essay? What prompted it? What was the experience like? Please share.

Ironically, as a reader, I never used to be a fan of anthologies or personal essay collections. As a teacher, I did love showing students how to write personal essays or short memoir pieces. As an English teacher and a writing instructor, it often felt miraculous to me how a mediocre piece could be transformed in just a few short weeks through revision, how a piece could evolve from bland and cliched to raw, powerful, and beautiful. But I never liked reading short pieces in my leisure time.

A personal essay is a short work of   characterized by a sense of intimacy and a  manner. Also called a personal statement.


It is a hot season for thousands of high school seniors and for colleges when the process of filling out college applications begins. For future students, it is a hard task to write their first personal college essay. But to be successful and to be accepted to the college you like, you have to ask some help. You can try to use the tips we prepared for you below. Also, you can buy personal essay using one of writing services online or to ask them for personal essay help. Below you can read the most important tips for successful personal essay for college writing. I've been thinking a lot about personal essays from three different perspectives: as a reader, as a writer, and now as an editor. I've been trying my hand at publishing my own pieces, and I know that it's hard (really hard) to write a great personal essay. Here we have a silly personal essay for you to consider. It was written by a college student named Silica Gelcap and is used here with his gracious permission. As you read it, try to figure out what the point of it might be and where that point is being made. Is it fun to read? What is the source of that fun? Enjoy! According to M-W, it was Michel de Montaigne (a minor French nobleman who lived from 1533 to 1592) who assigned the term “essai” to highlight the fact that he considered his writings to be attempts at expressing his ideas. Lopate calls Montaigne the “the great innovator and patron saint of personal essayists,” not because he was the first to attempt ( or should I say essay) to write short form, nonfiction compositions that are informal and introspective, but because he mastered the style.So here's what I think -- as a teacher, writer, editor, and reader -- about the ingredients of a great personal essay, one that is carefully crafted to draw in a reader, make her care about a topic, and keep reading. The personal essay takes the essence of that formularized essay of your grade school days, but it discards the boring structure and insistence on coming to an airtight conclusion at the end of a series of statements. It’s much more flexible than that, and much more personal. In this article I will discuss the ways that a Personal Essay differs from a traditional essay. Please note that much of what I discuss in this article comes from the introduction written by Phillip Lopate in the book, The Art of the Personal Essay, which compiles some of the best essays ever written. Lopate is a “big name” in the world of creative nonfiction writing, and he does a thorough job explaining a genre that is hard to define. So if you want to learn more, I highly recommend this title.I am a Personal Essay and I was born with a port wine stain and beaten by my mother. A brief affair with a second cousin produced my first and only developmentally disabled child. Years of painful infertility would lead me straight into menopause and the hysterectomy I almost didn’t survive.Many college admissions boards ask prospective students to write a personal essay as part of their general application process. Scholarship, internship and contest committees also often request them. Reviewers use them not only to get a general sense of a writer’s history and philosophies, but also to analyze whether he is educated, creative or experienced enough to stand out from other applicants.