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How To Write A Personal Essay: Eight Steps To Success

Updated on May 7, 2013

A SUBJECT NEAR AND DEAR TO MY HEART

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.

Graham Greene

This is where I have “made my bones.” I love personal essays. To me writing is a personal adventure, complete with pain and joy, laughter and depression, humor and candor. To me, writing should be a series of “holy cow” moments where the writer engages the reader to such an extent that the reader actually feels emotions while reading. I find my high in writing when I receive a comment from a follower telling me they cried when they read my words, or they laughed out loud at something I have written. That, my friends, is better than any drug ever manufactured and it is why I am a writer.

I can write articles like this one and feel good about the end result, but when I write a personal essay I feel ecstatic about the end result because I know I am connecting with my readers on a very human level. I am taking a surgical knife and filleting myself so that my readers can relate….that is my job as a writer of personal essays…to relate to my readers.

If you would like to give it a go then I welcome you to the fold. What follows are a few suggestions you might like to follow. They have worked well for me and I’m confident they will do the same for you.

A lover of personal essays
A lover of personal essays | Source

READ THE BEST

If you have never written a personal essay then how do you know how to do it? My suggestion is to learn from those who do it on a regular basis. Find authors and columnists who do this for a living and learn from their style. What do they do that is so effective? What don’t they do? How do they go about engaging you?

The best are the best for a reason. Follow them and find out what that reason is.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR PASSIONS

If your goal in a personal essay is to engage your reader, then for God’s sake be engaging, and the easiest way to do this is to write about things that move you. If your subject matter fascinates you then that will shine through in the way you write it….as long as you allow your fascination to shine.

What are your passions? What are you an expert in? These are the topics you need to explore. How can you write with passion about fighting in Vietnam if you were never there? How can you write about the thrill of driving a Formula One racing car if you have never done it?

FOCUS ON DRAMA AND CONFLICT

Don’t tell your reader that childhood was painful. Instead, pick a particular event and really delve into the nature of that pain.

I’ve got a surprise for you: most people have shared similar experiences. It is true. If I tell you about the pain of losing my dad when I was nineteen, and I tell it well, then chances are every single person who reads it will be engaged by it, simply because we have all lost someone we loved. However, it is my job to tell that story in a gut-wrenching and powerful way. Otherwise it will read like “see Dick run” and nobody will care.

What was the happiest moment in your life? What was the saddest? Tackle unresolved emotional issues and spell them out with blood, sweat and tears. I promise you your readers will understand.

GRAB YOUR READER BY THE THROAT

What is the average length of an article? Most magazine and newspaper articles are in the 700-1500 word range. Quite frankly that is not a lot of space, so it is crucial that you grab your readers by the throat early on. Consider, also, that there is a great deal of competition out there, and your readers will go elsewhere if you do not sell them on your piece very early on.

One way you might do this is to draw upon something that is popular today, some cultural phenomenon like a hot book or television series. Make reference in the first couple sentences about some upcoming event and then tie your essay into that introduction.

Worth a look

TOSS ASIDE EASY, POPULAR OPINIONS

We all know that homelessness is wrong and sad. We all know that child trafficking is horrible. Now, find an angle that is new and interesting.

If I were writing about homelessness, and I have, I would talk to you about a homeless man I met while on my paper route a couple years ago. Arnie taught me a lesson about life that I will never forget, and since that day I have never looked at homelessness the same way.

Don’t take the easy route because it rarely spells success. Instead, find the path to success by taking a road less traveled.

SHOW AND TELL TIME

Think of a personal essay as a quick trip through your journal, or a personal mini-memoir. You don’t have the time or space to ramble on about your entire life or the complete range of emotions you experienced during the past twenty years.

Get out your microscope and show, and tell, specific emotions related to a specific event. Instead of summarizing your entire journal, give us “up close and personal” about one page of that journal.

GIVE EMOTIONAL INSIGHT

This article is about personal essays. By definition, personal essays must get personal. Readers want to know your insights regarding the topic you chose.

I follow these three keywords when doing a personal essay: question, challenge and reveal. I must do two of the three in any personal essay that I write. I can choose between questioning and challenging, but I can never choose to delete the revelations. Remember that people will relate to my emotional insights simply because they have experienced similar insights during their lifetime. Give them that opportunity to relate or you have failed in your quest.

A FEW THINGS TO AVOID

In no particular order, there are certain things you should not do in a personal essay.

Do not write in third person. Personal essays should always be focused on you, so use the word “I”during your essay.

Avoid generalities and focus on specifics.

Do not start out with mundane and boring. You only have ten seconds to interest your readers so dazzle them quickly.

Do not share commonplace events without finding a new angle.

Do not settle for the first draft. Personal essays demand your best, so re-write and find the perfect combination of nouns and verbs that will really hit your readers in the gut.

Where these tips helpful?

See results

NOW YOU ARE READY

Personal essays are not easy to write for all writers. I have heard from many who say they could not do what I do. They are not yet at a place in their development where they are comfortable opening up their heart and soul and sharing them with readers. In a very real sense, writing a personal essay should feel like being skinned alive, and you are the skinner. It can be a painful experience and it can be frightening but I promise you, it can also be incredibly rewarding.

I hope at some point you feel the urge to try a personal essay and then you act on that urge. You just might discover a “voice” you never knew you had.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      grand old lady, I agree completely with you. Essay writing is not for everyone, but it is freeing and exciting and an excellent way to release your passions for the world to see. Thank you once again for your visit.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      I love how essay writers like Erma Bombeck and Maya Angela could fearlessly write essays about their lives that people could identify with. Maya also wrote about the days of Martin Luther King, which is my generation. When I read her book of essays of that time, it brought me back to my high school years in San Francisco and planted a flower of fondness in my heart. Good writing does stuff like that. Essay writing is a courageous form of writing, and if well done, is so delightful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good evening Michael,

      If I have been of assistance then it is I who is the happy one. We stick together, we writers. We need encouragement from our own my friend, and I'm glad I was here to give you some. Keep writing and keep following your passion.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Good evening, billybuc.

      Excellent. This is one of those ,' how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings..." For me yes, it was heavenly appointment to meet you last night at my lowest. Already you taught me , not to say anything at my lowest. . . With all information you have generously listed, my hard work will be easier task, my joy of belonging will steadily be on increase, taking that what great-ones have to offer using it to the fullest . Thank you , thank you so much.

      Be blessed and prosperous .

      It's awesome, up and useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana, you are welcome. I can head off on tangents with the best of them. I have to constantly remind myself of the purpose of my essay and then not stray from the purpose.

      I appreciate you stopping by again my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Walter, we all find comfort in certain types of writing.....some are not meant to do personal essays....for me, technical writing is a mystery and always will be. :) I appreciate your kind words. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jim, I say the same thing about people who write SEO so well and easily.....I have failed miserably at that type of writing. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Your explanation about making a personal essay like one page of your journal is particularly helpful. It's hard to focus when we are trying to convey a lifetime's worth of a message, but choosing one "scene" makes it feel achievable. Thank you for more excellent writing advice! :-)

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Another very informative hub! I like your style of writing. The words you used are simple, very simple... I have tried to write personal essays and novels before, but without any success. They sound like textbooks. Now I know why. READ THE BEST! So far, I have not read any personal essays and hardly any novels. I prefer non-fiction. Guess that explains why my writings sound so textbook-like!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Bill, great tips here for anyone aspiring to move people or just get people to relate to a personal essay. You do it so well, it looks easy, but those of us who have tried know better.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred....kind? No, just honest. :)

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      You're too kind. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred, you are an excellent essay writer...one of the best on HP, and I believe in your talents. Keep doing what you are doing.....the recognition will come, as will your increased followers. Thank you my friend.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Well sir, this is another fabulously informative piece of work. As you know, I love telling a personal story but I don't think I'm that good at it. But now, armed with this hub, I have a new tool to put in my toolbox and when time is a little more relaxed, I am going to grow myself into a better personal assay writer. Thanks for the great tips. Love to you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Insightful, I would love to speak to you in person some day, but until then, I am glad that my writing leaves you with the impression that we are sitting across from each other, talking as old friends do. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesley....thank you. This is me...this is who I am...so no, I don't think I can shut it off. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, it is not easy for everyone. I would suggest practicing from time to time until you are more comfortable with it. What does it feel like to live in Nepal? What problems do you see there? What does the future look like for your nation? Tell it in your own words, through your own eyes. People will be interested. :)

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      It's like you are speaking to me, brother mentor! It's gonna take me a while but I definitely need to take your advice and go rewrite everything! Thanks for sharing the do's and don'ts. This is a very helpful hub! Voted up and shared :)

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      No, its not a monster. Don't every shut it off.x

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Bill,

      I always find difficult to write personal stuffs compared to other things. I'm always confused about what to write and what to leave while writing a personal essay.

      Thanks for your wonderful tips.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      and thank you again, Bruce. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bruce, thank you Sir! You have a caring voice that speaks of sincerity and that is a gift. Keep spreading your message my friend. We are making a difference.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

      I always learn something when I read a hub by William Holland and for me that is necessary. For m,e it's all about expressing myself and getting a personal message out. You have helped me here Bill. I hope it shows up in my hubs to come. Thank you!

      Peace be with you always!

      Bruce

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

      I always learn something when I read a hub by William Holland and for me that is necessary. For m,e it's all about expressing myself and getting a personal message out. You have helped me here Bill. I hope it shows up in my hubs to come. Thank you!

      Peace be with you always!

      Bruce

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, whether they were well-received or not really doesn't matter....the whole idea is to grow as a writer, and hopefully develop your writer's voice in the process. :) Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I actually did a couple on here and they weren't too well received. Perhaps better luck at another time. Your info was short, sweet, and directly to the point. Well done, Billy, and thanks for sharing such crucial info.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, it is cathartic, and all the while it may be helping someone else who feels the same as we do, and isn't that an awesome realization?

      I'm glad you visited your sister and got some down time. We all need it.

      blessings and a hug for you,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I'm glad to hear that. Thank you very much.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Bill

      You are so right. Being told by a fellow hubber that they felt something when they read my words is intoxicating to me, too.

      I am a very private person really. That may be difficult to believe as I have bared my soul many times right her on HubPages. But writing is cathartic often for me. So I pour out my thoughts and send them into space as if I am releasing them to the universe.

      This is an awesome read, great suggestions as usual...

      I love getting my daily read at this site. I have been lax for about a week as I was visiting in Sarasota with my sister. Trying to play catch up.

      Hugs and Angels aplenty are on the way :) ps

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you once again for sharing your experience and great suggestions, Bill. I appreciate all your hubs about writing. They're very helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, I truly do understand....I felt the same way when I first started at HP...but the outpouring of love was so great when I finally published my first personal essay.....well, all of you created a monster. LOL Now I can't shut it off.

      I hope some day you feel like giving it a go.

      Thank you my friend.

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      Bill I have never written a personal essay. Your article here is encouraging me to give it a go. Its true, everyone can relate to our experiences as we have all suffered loss, pain, suffering, happiness and euphoria. But its just damn boring if we don't find a different angle. It's a scary process opening our hearts. I have done it occasionally with poetry but I'm normally feeling at the end of my tether by the time I transfer those emotions to the laptop.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chitrangada, you have a book waiting for you in that diary....one day perhaps, yes?

      Thank you as always for visiting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larrry! I'm impressed that you have had articles printed....keep it up my friend, and thanks for the kind word about the blog.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, it is not something you can forces, and I think you are smart to wait. When the time is right it will come.

      Have a great day my friend and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, you do this style well for all the reasons that you mentioned. Follow your heart and passion my friend, and you can never take a wrong turn.

      blessings always

      bill

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I write everyday in my personal diary, but have not shared them here. I have been doing it since childhood. If compiled and assembled, it may become a personal essay or an autobiography of some sort. Not now but may be sometimes in future.

      Your tips are great and I will always keep in mind.

      Thanks a lot!

    • profile image

      Larry Kitzmann 4 years ago

      Yet again great advice here. I've had some articles printed in the Ann Arbor New over education issues when I was still teaching. They were all personal and got some heated reaction from readers. Keep up the new blogs they are most excellent and deeply appreciated.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I enjoy reading personal essays. So much of my knowledge base of human nature was gleaned from personal essays. I keep trying to write one but I don't think I've reached the point where I'm comfortable sharing it with myself much less anyone else. Someday...

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, I just love to write about my personal experiences in this life, as that is what I know! You are so right, do not write in generalities, but tell a personal true account of that subject, which is always so much more interesting and plus you are more passionate too about writing, as you have something really to write about!

      Great advice here dearest Bill!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Peace and blessings, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! I hope it builds and I hope people are getting value from it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, I have to find out where they are selling more time. Now that's a product I would invest in. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, it's pretty simple...I just let my heart write the hubs and I sit back and watch it happen. :)

      Thank you dear lady!

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, it happens when it happens, and some people never feel comfortable writing about feelings in a public forum. That's understandable...it's not for everyone.

      Thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I have doubts like everyone else my friend. There are days I wonder if I have any talent at all. :) Shh, don't tell anyone my secret. :)

      Thank you and I hope you are having a great evening.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Wonderful tips as always, Bill. You have this niche building up really well with great articles. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Excellent advice Bill! And yes, we all need more hours!

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      You share much passion, vulnerability and ability to get your readers to think deeply.

      I always learn much and receive inspiration in your work.

      Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      I know my writing lacks personal feelings, but I have written essays about them. Right now, I'm just not ready to share them with the world. Thanks for your advice.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Another excellent 'how-to' writing article, Bill. You are not only good at what you do, my friend, you are good at telling others how to do it as well. A rare talent ... but you already know that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, my supportive friend...thank you! Let me know if you figure out how to get more hours...I could use an extra six at least. :) Maybe I'm trying to do too much??? Nah...that's negative thinking. LOL

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Bill, great advice, as always.

      I have figured out my problem...not enough hours in the day, or days in the week. Ha, ha

      Quite sure I am the only person with that problem.

      I am smart enough to know that you make good things happen, so I will be hanging around.

      Thanks for all that you do.

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, the pleasure is all mine my dear. If you weren't worth it I doubt I would have expended this much time and effort. I only hang with quality people.

      love you,

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, my success is due to you supporting me, giving me leads, challenging me and keeping that fire under my writer's butt - not to mention keeping the fire in my soul. I love you my friend. Aside from my son, you're the best thing that has ever happened to me. In fact, God has us so connected that he allows us to swap weather conditions from time to time! Tee hee!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, don't apologize to me...every. :)

      As for your writing advancement, it has been a thrill to watch you grow as a writer, and to boldly go forth despite the fears and reservations. You are amazing my friend and I'm proud of you.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, I loved hearing about your writing growth. Believe it or not, I have always loved essays. I felt like it was Christmas every time the prof assigned an essay. That was just free license to write my heart out, or b.s. with great intent. :)

      I have always loved to write. I didn't realize my potential until the last few years. Something clicked and I found my voice and Joe, since that day I have been in writer's heaven.

      May we both share in each other's work for years to come my friend.

      Thank you and blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, I am pleased that I am inspiring you. When the time comes you will feel it and I will be there to read every word you write.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, yes it does. :) I understand that completely.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, first I apologize for the late read. I try to get your daily 10 a.m. posts (7 a.m. to you) read and responded to before I get deep into my work. That didn't happen today. My ISP was having email issues that weren't resolved until I went to work.

      So, now that I've fed you a bunch of words that you'll debunk through your understanding, I have this to say: You give great advice. I have written a few personal essays that I wasn't sure I wanted to publish, even after I published them. I exposed things that a lot of people in my everyday life don't know. I may not have had hundreds of responses, but the responses I received were supporting and revealing. Additionally, in writing those essays I cleansed myself and was able to purge the negative and see how strong I really am.

      When revelation helps the reader and the writer at the same time, it is kismet - it was meant to be.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Bill, when it came time for exams in school, I celebrated when the respective teachers would say, "True/False," or "Multiple Choice." I hated to write essays because I was just plain lazy. As I slowly made progress up the academic food chain, however, I had a complete about face when I figured out that I could actually write engaging personal essays and still answer the questions. Teachers loved personal examples for the main points I made. I was still lazy, and I had to keep shaking my right hand because it would always get numb from the speed writing, but I was no longer frozen in panic. I convinced myself that if I could keep on writing during the allotted time, that I would somehow get the job done. My blue books looked like chicken scratch, but somehow, the professors were able to read them, and I managed to get through.

      The secret I discovered was that there's a time and place for rote learning and spitting the answers back--math and the other natural sciences require that. But for the humanities and social sciences---English, philosophy, political science, sociology, psychology--I had greater license for formulating and giving the professors my own answers. And that's where my real learning occurred--getting past the fear that I was inadequate and knowing that my truths were as important as any that I could ever read about in a book or learn about in a lecture. As a teacher AND as a student, I know you've seen both sides of the equation, and I'm guessing you celebrated just as much over one of your students getting liberated as you did over your own academic rite of passage. I enjoyed your hub today very much, my friend, because like the others, it has a way of reflecting revelance and, more importantly, reinforcing the good feelings we writers deserve to have about ourselves and our profession. You have a gift for uplifting people, Bill, and I'm very thankful for you. Aloha!

      Joe

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      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      One day, with the help of your informative and interesting Hubs, I will put the thoughts in my head down on paper. For now, I still feel most comfortable expressing myself through food,art, and jewelry making. I do want you to know you *are* inspiring me, Bill.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Billy, every one of my Hub pages holds a personal essay. Read on...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Russ, thanks for stopping by. I don't believe anyone's life is boring. There are lessons in each life that we can all learn from.

      I'm enjoying your book...action packed to say the least. Great plot!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Bill - I can't believe I haven't done this yet. Maybe I think my life is boring - Or I don't want to confront the interesting stuff. You have motivated me to give it a shot. Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, vkwok! Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for the helpful hubs!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MsDora, I look forward to reading it my friend. Thanks as always for stopping by.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      I just posted an essay (a redo of an old article) and I'm afraid I'll have to redo it again. Thanks for your instructions.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, there will be a seat in our living room any old time you feel like visiting. Just pull up a chair and we'll chat as old friends do.

      Thank you for your kind words and friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, what I know is worthless unless it is shared, as all knowledge should be. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Lizzy, I thought I was your favorite essayist. Damn....another illusion shattered. :)

      I'll give him a listen...thanks for the tip my Dunedin Dynamo.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      "connecting with my readers"...that my friend you do so very well. Every time I read one of your hubs I feel like I'm sitting in your living room. By sharing your personal life and thoughts you do make every hub something we can all relate to whether we've experienced it or not. As always your suggestions are spot on and we can all learn from them.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      As always some wonderful advice and you really do have the market on this topic. I can't say enough how much I have learned just by reading your writing articles and thank you for that. Have, of course, voted and shared all over!!

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I'm reading a book now called Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Wow! There is some amazing work in there. Last night, I read an essay that had my heart racing and tears running down my face--I thought I wouldn't be able to get through it! I want to be able to write like that.

      My favorite essayist is David Sedaris. I listen to his books over and over (you have to listen to him read his work in order to get the full effect).

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheri, I'm the exact opposite....I try very hard to make mine personal whenever possible. :) Put us together and we might have a complete writer. LOL

      Thank you my friend. Have a great day on Vancouver Island.

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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Good morning Billy. I try very hard to keep "me" out of my writing. I have never tried a personal essay, but may give it a shot one of these days. Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, personal essays are cathartic in nature, for the writer and the reader. I love them and I think they have great value for the writer. Thank you as always my friend.

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      This is most helpful Bill..Of course most of us think we know all this..but we don't always practice it. It made me think about some of my hubs..like family estrangement and how I did write it in the first person. I got an overwhelming amount of comments about similar situations..It also made me feel not alone. Great job as always ...and so to the point. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information.