Write A Personal Essay
If you are not already in the habit of reading other writers with an analytical eye, start forming that habit now.When you run across a moment in someone else’s writing that seems somehow electric on the page, stop, go back, reread the section more slowly, and ask yourself, “What did she do here, put into this, or leave out, that makes it so successful?This can be done, but doing it well involves great writing skill.No matter what, be sure to keep the verb tense consistent.Likewise, identifying the missteps in other writers’ work makes you better at identifying the missteps in your own.Remember the Streetcar Tennessee Williams’ wonderful play, , comes from a real streetcar in New Orleans and an actual neighborhood named Desire.” Similarly and often just as important, if you are reading a piece of writing and find yourself confused, bored, or frustrated, stop again, back up, squint closely at the writing, and form a theory as to how, when, or where the prose went bad.Identifying the specific successful moves made by others increases the number of arrows in your quiver, ready for use when you sit down to start your own writing.
Like all artists of any form, essay writers occasionally find themselves breaking away from tradition or common practice in search of a fresh approach. But even groundbreakers learn by observing what has worked before.
Excuse the rather basic transportation lesson, but it explains my first suggestion.
An essay needs a lighted sign right up front telling the reader where they are going.
This is the heart of this Coursera specialization in Memoir and Personal Essay.
Masters of both genres share tips, prompts, exercises, readings and challenges to help every writer imagine, construct and write compelling pieces of non-fiction's most popular form: the personal narrative.