What Is a Personal Essay?

In personal essays, the subject is you. Or more specifically, it is about one or more personal experiences or memories that you want to share with others through the medium of writing.

The “personal essay” is sometimes referred to as a “memoir” because the focus is about a personal experience or reminiscence. However, the term memoir typically applies to a book-length project, so it is best to classify your work as a “personal essay” when submitting it for publication.

Like the opinion essay and the literary essay, there is a considerable degree of flexibility in composing the personal essay. However, there are several basic attributes that define the personal essay that you should follow:

The personal essay takes one or more personal experiences or recollections, ruminates upon them, and often suggests a message to which the readers can relate.:

  • If intended for an audience beyond friends and family, the personal essay must be of interest to the reader.

  • Personal essays are written in the first person.

  • Personal essays may employ techniques common to writing fiction.

  • Length is flexible but the range is between 1,000 and 4,000 words.

    1. Home
    2. Writing Nonfiction
    3. Personal Essays
    4. What Is a Personal Essay?
    Visit other About.com sites: