If you've lived an even mildly interesting life, you may have asked, "Should I be writing an essay on myself?" Often, you will be asked to write an essay for a college course, your career, hobbies or some other form of recognition. Or perhaps, you just want to write out the essay for future generations, so that your descendants will understand the decisions you made and why you lived your life the way you did. There are several steps you can take to get your thoughts down and write an essay or biography that will make the reader sit up and take notice.
Narrowing the Scope
Essays are typically fairly short pieces of writing. For example, an essay for a college course may be between three and ten pages, while an essay that recognizes your accomplishments may only be three pages. Of course, if you plan to write an essay for future generations, you can make it longer or even wind up turning it into a book-length life history project. Because most essays are short, you'll want to narrow the scope of your topic. Just writing an essay about "myself" sounds simple, until you realize how many different areas you can cover. You can talk about your birth, school, clubs, sports, accomplishments, children, family and on and on. Because the topic is so broad, it is necessary to narrow the focus. The table below shows some different topics and which ones are narrowed down best for essay-length pieces
Narrowing Your Topic
| Too Broad || Better || Best |
| School Days || Ninth Grade || The Day I Decided to Become a Nurse |
| Holidays || Christmas Past || The Christmas the Turkey Came to Life |
What Details to Include When Writing Essay on Myself
What details you choose to include depend on the focus of your essay. For example, if you choose to write the essay about the turkey coming to life, you may want to include details on the reactions of those present, but you wouldn't include information about your fifth birthday, unless a turkey came to life then too.Once you have narrowed your focus, work really hard to stay within that focus. Don't throw in everything and the kitchen sink when writing about your topic. This will keep the length short and also allow enough room to explore that focus completely. If you recall a funny story or something else you'd like to tell readers about yourself, it is best to write that in a separate essay.
Every piece of writing needs some finishing touches to look polished. Whether you are writing this essay for your boss or personal use, you'll want it to be as perfect as possible. Here are some editing techniques that can help:
- Ask a trusted friend or colleague to read through your work and make suggestions.
- Print out a hard copy and read through for typos. Keep a red pen in hand, so you can mark them and take the marked-up copy back to your computer for correction. Although you will find many errors while reading on a computer screen, there is something about the printed page that lends itself to deeper editing.
- Read the essay out loud. This will help you catch any awkward phrases that you might not catch otherwise. Because writers know what they want to say, they often leave out words or write in a way that doesn't make sense to others. When you read the essay out loud, you will hear these errors and be able to fix them.
- Do a final spell check and grammar check on your computer.
How to Store for Future Reference
Once you complete your essay, you don't want to risk losing it. You'll want to back it up on an external hard drive, CD or even email a copy to yourself. You should also print out a hard copy and file it in your filing cabinet or some other safe place. Never have only a single copy or store multiple copies in a single location. Computers crash, hard copies are lost and email systems go corrupt. Also have several sources for your backups, so you don't lose your hard work.
Writing a personal essay is challenging but rewarding. With these tips from LoveToKnow and some of the other wonderful tips in the Freelance Writing channel, your essay will be sure to impress.