How To Write An Autobiographical Essay
An autobiography is a comprehensive story about you.
You can write an autobiography for personal purposes and you could also write it for the public if you think that your life is interesting and eventful enough for people to read.
An autobiography covers the events in your life from the time you were born to now.
If you are writing an autobiography to inspire other people, include details on how you achieved your successes.
However, the focus of this article is autobiographical essays, which you might have to write to college admissions offices to convince them to accept you into college.
These autobiographical essays focus on personality rather than achievement.
The following is a guide on how to write an autobiographical essay.
Structure of an autobiographical essay
In this section, we are going to look at the general principles of the structure of an autobiographical essay.
The introduction is a short section of the essay, but often the most difficult to write.
Like in any other essay and research paper, the introduction of an autobiographical essay should:
- Capture the attention of the reader and stir interest in reading the rest of the paper
- Introduce the main idea and theme of the paper
An autobiographical essay introduction should mention your:
- Personal qualities
- View of the world
You could make the introductory paragraph more interesting by including a few details about your experiences.
However, the paragraph should not be long, just 2 or 3 sentences.
There is no formula for writing the body of the essay, but it should have good grammar, good flow of ideas, and a logical sequence.
Using several paragraphs increases readability.
But make sure the paragraphs have a logical connection to help a reader follow easily.
Your conclusion has to be attractive and strong.
Include the lessons learned from your life experiences and how they have shaped your life.
Steps of writing an autobiographical essay
The following are the steps to follow to produce a good autobiographical essay:
- Read other autobiographies
The first thing you need to do is gain a basic understanding of autobiographical writing.
The best way to do that is by reading other people autobiographies.
There are thousands of published autobiographies to choose from, but the best ones to read first are those of people you find inspiring.
- Review your life
An autobiography cannot include every event or experience in your life.
So, you will have to choose those events and unusual experiences that:
- Might inspire people
- Molded your personality
You should also consider your childhood; there could be something you did back then that is noteworthy.
- List the experiences and events to include
As you review your life make a list of the events and experiences you are considering including.
This list will help you categorize you’re your experiences and organize them in a logical manner.
- Pick a topic
You cannot write everything about your life in one essay.
That is why you need to narrow down and focus on one topic.
The categories you divided your life experiences into will help you do that.
You need to be objective enough to pick a theme that will be interesting to your target audience.
- Brainstorm ideas
After finding a topic to focus on. Think through your experiences for an idea of what to write.
Ask yourself the following questions before including a specific experience:
- Why is the experience important to you?
- Why this specific experience and not others?
- Which details about this experience are worth sharing with your reader?
- What lessons did you learn from this experience?
- How did the experience change you?
- Which feelings do you want to evoke in your reader?
- Create an outline
An outline assists in planning.
Your outline should have the sections covered under the subheading, structure of an autobiographical essay, above.
Roughly write down what you intend to include under each section.
The outline is what you will follow when writing to avoid omitting some details.
Also, it will help you to avoid digressing and enable you to easily track your progress as you write.
- Write the essay
At this point, you have everything you need to start writing.
If you observed the previous steps, writing the essay will be relatively easy.
- Proofread your work
After finishing your essay, keenly go over it to correct grammar errors such as spelling, bad tense, and wrong punctuation.
Consider having someone else go over your work – they might see mistakes you missed and even offer valuable advice on how to improve the essay.
Writing about yourself can be quite challenging.
However, with practice and following the guidelines shared above, writing autobiographical essays will be much easier.