During this time of year I always have this urge to write personal essays, but it makes me wonder what exactly a personal essay is. To some people a personal essay could be a blog post like this, for others is can be a full memoir. Then I came across this description:
A personal essay is either a personal narrative in which the author writes about a personal incident or experience that provided significant personal meaning or a lesson learned, or it is a personal opinion about some topic or issue that is important to the writer.
(Source: Find Your Creative Muse) [A great article by the way!]
To be honest that is the best description I’ve ever heard, and I don’t really think this description fits the blog posts. So maybe they aren’t personal essays, more just ramblings that some how make sense to others.
I do have a couple of personal essays in my first draft files though, but they are kind of depressing. One was written while in college for class and got my classmates very concerned because of the topic it covered even though the incident happened many years before I wrote the piece. Maybe that was what I was going for. Personal essays are meant to delve deep into the writer and show the readers a completely different side to them.
It may be a good habit to start once you hit writer’s block, especially since it is much easier to write something out of opinion than to create fiction. It may help get some thoughts out of our minds. The one thing I do worry about with personal essays is it sounding more like a diary entry than an essay. Or even worse, a “cry for help.” It’s that line you have to balance upon. Teeter too far one way or another, it may become viewed in a way that wasn’t intended. [But that may be the case with all non-fiction.]
Though I am a fantasy writer, I try to put as much as myself and my life into my work that it may appear more as a fictional memoir. [Just no magic or werewolves.] A little separation from that once in a while could be helpful. Put some things into perspective.
When it comes to personal essays, you have to pull from a strong emotion or memory, whether you write a narrative or an opinion essay. Something to help carry through the entire work. Much like with fiction and it’s plot, a personal essay needs a similar structure to keep the reader involved as well as it preventing it from sounding like rambling. [Much like how my posts tend to sound.] Remember that even though it may be a narrative essay and it won’t really have an “ending” it should still come to a solid conclusion.
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