Writing A First Person Reflective Essay: The Main Dos And Don'ts

Before you sit down to begin your paper, make sure you feel confident in what has been assigned. You need to have a good grasp of writing in the first person, and know the dos and don’ts of a reflective essay. The following tips should help you get started on your way.

A first person perspective means you are writing from your own person al viewpoint and using “I” to show the reader everything from your point of view. What you did, what you said, what you thought and so on.

For writing a reflective paper, follow the steps below:

  1. Identify what your main theme or themes are. Summarize in one or two sentences using descriptive wording.
  2. Start taking notes on ideas that come to your mind related to your main theme. Some of what you write you may not use later but it’s best to get a nice big list at this point. Jot down quotations or other important statements you may want to include. Think back on the experience and write down the sounds, images, feelings and so on that were present at the time.
  3. Create a chart to help you keep track of the ideas until you have enough written down to form into an outline. Use column one to list your main or key experiences. The second column could contain the feelings, beliefs, values and experiences that influenced your response to the stimuli in column one. The third and last column should contain how much of your personal response you want to include in your paper.
  4. Ask yourself some pertinent questions. At this point, don’t be afraid to write down everything that comes to mind. You can sort through it later. Here are some examples of the questions: How did the experience affect you emotionally, spiritually or socially? Has it changed the way you think about things? Has it left you with unanswered questions? What do you need to resolve this with?
  5. Do: Start formulating your ideas into an outline for your paper. Organize them into main headings, with the minor headings as supports.
  6. Don’t: Worry about making this perfect at this stage. As you add more to it, it will begin to take on a life of its own and you will see how to fit it together.
  7. Write your first draft by following your outline. Proofread, revise and polish your draft to produce your final copy.

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