Sometimes it can be easier to research a topic instead of going into our past. However, there will always be a market for personal experience articles, because people like to hear these first person tales of success and struggle. This guide explains how you can write a personal experience article, whether you publish it online or in print.
Find the questions. Why is this story important? You need to ask a lot of questions. Sure, explaining how you walk to your mail box every day will seem interesting if you have a unique style. But, no one will buy it. If you want to be a freelance writer, you need to understand the basics of what sells. Selling personal experience articles is about describing unique takes on something that may have happened to someone else. You relate your story, explain how you won or lost and put it together in an easy-to-read manner.
Find the answers. Start with a hook, a clear point about life. Maybe you want to publish a personal experience article in a small online magazine. They want spiritual stories (many sites and magazines do) and it sounds good to you. Well, you need a hook (or takeaway) even if its spiritual. For example, explaining how you regained eye sight through prayer has a clear spiritual hook—it shows how you succeeded at something. Or explaining how you fought drug addiction might work. The theme needs to be a strong one. The hook is where you begin, as though it were a fiction story.
Finding your own style while penning a personal experience article can be fun. Maybe you put the words together in many short sentences. Or maybe you write like Virginia Woolf and write incredibly long and detailed sentences. Much can work, much can sell. Find your own way of telling the story.
Study published articles. Study some of your favorite magazines and online sites. Most magazines will at least publish personal experience articles occasionally, as just like publishing letters, people like to read them. You will notice many of these personal experience articles are of celebrities, which tends to get more sellable than the common tale. But you will also find interesting takes from lesser-known writers.
Write the piece. It can be hard to go into a personal experience article cold. Sure, you know exactly what happened, but how do you put it into words? It can be done. You need to write it; you don’t have to sell it. This can be a learning process. Once you learn the basics of personal experience, you can write better.
Tips & Warnings
- A takeaway is another way of looking at the hook. It is different in some ways. Most personal experience articles have one hook and several takeaways, the main points you provide. It’s like looking at a thesis which sums up your idea in three points.
- Yes, you can actually make a living writing personal experience articles. But it will take time, and you may run out of ideas. When you do, read your favorite magazines, and consider combining all that you’ve written into a book.
- Try to avoid lecturing people on all the aspects of your life.
- In each essay pick a few key points you want to emphasize. A thousand words isn’t enough for a complete life story. Leave that for a book.
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