How To Write A First Person Essay

  1. What is a first person essay?

First-person essays grant a writer the chance to share their personal experiences which may be challenging, inspiring, or funny to the audience. The aim of a first-person essay is to establish a connection with the reader, thereby enabling them to understand your personal experiences. A first person essay should be written in first-person, by using words such as I, my, mine, and others. This translates to the fact that one should write this type of an essay as if he /she has personally faced the stipulated situations and experiences. One of the mistakes that students make is writing a first-person essay by using the third person. This is a demerit, as it does not positively affect the audience regardless of how good the story is. The aim of the writer is to ensure that the readers are fully engaged in the development of the story, and make them feel like they are in that specific situation. Your primary objective is to ensure that the reader is engaged, and that he/she takes that journey with you.

  1. Types of the First-Person Essays
  • Personal Statements

This is a writer’s description of his/her academics, interests, achievements and so on. Usually, it is associated with applications involving advanced studies, college applications, job applications and others. It should always be in first person.

  • Reflective Memoirs/Essays

Memoirs or reflective essays where the real life experiences of the writer are tested. It aims at helping them to analyze whether the experience had a negative or a positive impact. Additionally, it helps in identifying their fears, comprehending their personal development, and understanding themselves in better ways. Reflective papers are usually written in first person.

  • Personal Narrative Essay

This kind of first-person essay entails the writer’s unique situations that he/she has been in. these experiences/situations must have an emotional effect on the audience. This should be infused with imageries, to enable the audience to recreate the settings and the scenario as a whole. Here, you, the writer, should consider the intrinsic information and incorporate it whilst explaining a specific scene and its significance.

  • Memoirs

Memoirs entail historical essays or developments which a writer composes based on his/her personal experiences or knowledge. The report should be made in first-person, since the writer shares his/her private and/or confidential information. In these kinds of first-person essays, a broad audience is not required. You, the writer, may write it for a specific group, friends, or family.

  1. Format or Organizational Structure of a First-Person Essay

In writing a first-person essay, there exist no unique or specified type of structure. Hence, you should follow the standard regulations pertaining to essays. It should have an introductory paragraph, a body, and a conclusion.

  • Introduction: The introductory paragraph should give an introduction of the topic and give the general concepts that the essay will contain. It should command the reader’s attention, and be exciting enough for the reader to continue reading the essay.
  • Body: This is the part of the essay which contains the most number of words. You should ensure that this part also contains essential points, vivid descriptions, relevant theories, and facts.

The climax should be the last part in this section.

  • Conclusion: This is the last part of the essay. It synthesizes all the information provided in the paper, thereby giving a great ending.

To write a great first-person essay, the following steps should be followed;

Step 1: Choose a Topic

This is the most vital part which has to be achieved with efficiency. The essay will be about the chosen topic, and this significantly impacts the audience. If the topic does not capture the readers’ attention, they will not be interested enough to continue reading it.

Step 2: The Essay’s Voice

Throughout the paper, it is paramount to consider the voice. You should write the essay in first-person, and ensure that you do not use different tenses or voices. The tone of the essay should be maintained throughout, to foster a great connection with the reader. The essay should be written in a revealing, understandable, and personal way.

It is crucial to reveal personal matters by establishing the historical significance, themes, mood, and the setting as well. This is because you are the protagonist. You should incorporate descriptive language and intriguing details infused with humor.

Step 3: Make a Rough Outline and a Draft

For the rough outline, make a rough outline of the plot adopted. This involves the individuals, places, and the stories which will be in the first-person essay, and these should be noted down. This should be according to the chronological order of how the events happened. In writing the draft, you should show your personality, because you are the protagonist.

As you write the paper, ensure that you appeal to the audience’s five senses. The audience needs to smell, hear, and see what you are writing about. Use verbs to effectively have this effect on the readers. Find a way to strike a balance of showing emotions such as sadness, anger, happiness. Do not lay all your focus on one particular emotion.

Step 4: Editing and Proofreading

This is the last part of the first-person essay. Re-read the essay and ensure that all the mistakes are corrected. Any mix-up of the tenses needs to be corrected too, including the grammatical errors. It is worth to note that readers lose interest when they read essays/stories that have repetitions. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that the essay does not contain any repetitive aspects.

A great example of a first person essay is Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl.” She effectively composes a first-person essay and employs all the ideas given above.

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