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Personal essay topics are as diverse as the things you can find in the universe, or thoughts that enter the writer’s mind. Unlike other forms of writing that are academic in nature, the personal essay is more free-wheeling and subjective (conveying opinion or musings). The most riveting topics will be for naught if the essays themselves do not connect in some way with readers.
Most readers like perusing personal essays packed with emotion. Most of them can discern pieces that lack sincerity or have self-serving agenda. A personal essayist who fakes a tone, uses deceit, or is too self-contained can be found out by sharp readers, who can turn away if they get a sickening feeling from reading a certain material.
Good essayists, on the other hand, oftentimes have a conversational style and stir up readers’ senses, whether through an entertaining, heart-rending, or anger-provoking approach. One technique that a writer can use when mulling over possible essay topics to expound is to choose a general category and then narrow it down to a specific subject matter. Some topics for a personal essay that most readers tend to find interesting are:
- Relationship strategies
- Customer service experiences (positive or negative)
- Work encounters or issues (like harassment, retirement, or red flags in job searches or signs in your existing company that signify it’s time for a career change)
- Pet peeves or annoying things
- Reminiscences of special occasions or milestones
- Literary icons
- Gadgets & technology
- Sports & recreation
- Fashion trends and other lifestyle habits (especially of celebrities)
There are personal essay topics that have been done to death, like “How I spent my summer vacation” or “How to recover from a broken heart” or “How to be a better parent.” Other personal essay topics that some people may want to keep reading about or scanning are ideals demonstrated by people or organizations, such as honesty or ethical responsibility. Other topics that can be written about are day-to-day occurrences like noise or pollution; small gripes; personal experiences on accidents or calamities encountered, personality traits of people, and so on.
No topic is too big or too small to write about, especially if the personal essayist can engage the reader. Personal essay topics must be developed in a way that can let those who stumble into the article identify with or empathize with every piece.
Some techniques to get started:
When writing the personal essay, knowing certain techniques can help. An essayist may lose readers easily if the essay is not framed in a way that readers can relate to. Global issues like world hunger won’t get readers’ attention if there are no specific examples or if the piece is limited to generalities. A good way to hook readers may be to employ devices like a shocking statement, a quotation by a famous person, a metaphor, powerful imagery.