Choosing what to write about from a list of personal essay topics can be a bit like going to a buffet and putting food that looks nice on your plate only to discover on tasting it that you want to spit it out. In other words, if you are given a list to choose from don’t instantly choose the first one that appeals to you. The reason for this is that the one that might at first seem easy to write isn’t that inspiring once you sit down and start to work on it.
Once you understand that you aren’t simply telling a story about your life but you need to write about how the event affected you, then you can start to choose your topic. Let’s look at a short list of five:
- The most exciting time of your life. At a first glance, you might look at this and immediately think that you have to write about the most exciting time of your life which was a family holiday to the Italian Riviera. However, when you start to write about it, you realise that all that happened was that you visited the beach every day and had meals in restaurants. It was exciting and great fun for you but for anyone else it wouldn’t be that interesting to read.
- Your greatest fear. If you have a deep fear of spiders, you may go to sleep every night frightened that one will crawl on you while you are sleeping because it happened once when you were younger. However, if you sit down to plan writing about this topic, you may find that it is too repetitive to write about and doesn’t move on to a conclusion.
- What motivates you? Some of the greatest events that have ever taken place in the history of humans are because of motivation and it can be a great topic to write about. However, it can be difficult to write about because you may not have taken action towards your motivation yet. Alternatively, if the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning is the smell of coffee, that also can make writing on this subject a non-starter.
- Something that happened that brought you closer to your parents. If an event took place, for instance, you grew up in comfortable circumstances but then your parents lost their business and suddenly everything changed. However, although you had a lot less money, you all became a tighter unit, then this is a story with a beginning, a middle, and end and also a moral.
- What you do in your spare time. This is a topic that all depends on the individual. For instance, if you spend your spare time helping the homeless to get a better life, it could be a fascinating subject. However, if you spend all your time lying on your bed staring at your navel and thinking about eating a bar of chocolate, it may be better to give this topic a miss.
Some of this may seem obvious but it is amazing how often students write personal essays and miss the fact that although it is personally interesting to them, it is rather dull for other people. If that seems harsh, this article is written so that you produce the best personal essay that you are able to.