WRITING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE ARTICLES

These are very rewarding, and in most cases easy because you don’t have to do much research.  Isaac Bashevis Singer once said: ” If you write about the things and the people  you know best, you discover your roots. ”   What better form to write about the events in your life than in a personal experience article.

We have all experienced things that can interest others. The events don’t have to be world-shattering, just incidents that readers can relate to and find meaningful.  If you learned something from it, maybe others will too.  Given the right spin and structure, you can turn it into a saleable article.

 

Magasines like Redbook and Ladies’ Home Journal;  some men’s magazines and religious magazines like Guideposts all use true personal experience articles, as do Reader’s Digest, and confession magazines that want fictionalized versions.

You need a tight structure, with a strong focus.  Always start on the day something different happens to you. This incident becomes the hook on which you capture the reader’s interest.  Try to make it provocative, and a shocking statement works well – e.g. “I didn’t think it would feel so good to pull the trigger”  or “snooping through my mother’s dresser drawer , I found out that she was transgender”. These are a bit extreme, but a dark moment or turning point that forces you to make a sacrifice or a choice that teaches a lesson can make a successful article.Your hook is the problem or conflict.  Then comes your reaction .  Finally, the motivation – why you made that choice.  That is often done by way of flashback, or it can be woven in by means of introspection – your inner thoughts – as long as this doesn’t break the flow of the narrative.

 

Build your story towards a satisfactory ending.  This doesn’t have to be a happy ending, because the conclusion doesn’t have to be happy.  After you’ve drafted it, go back to see if you have developed the theme you set out to tackle. Eliminate any tangents or digressions.  Only one theme should dominate.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “A writer wastes nothing”.  Don’t waste your personal experiences.  Look into your own life  and find the experiences that changed you and made such an impression you still remember them vividly.  Then write them down.

If I can help you with your writing problems, be in touch.  If you are interested in any of my published books, contact me for special prices. You can reach  me by e-mail at dwaysman@gmail.com or ways@netvision.net.il.

Write on!

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4 thoughts on “WRITING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE ARTICLES

  1. Carrie Burns says:

    Hello Dvora, Shalom!

    This was a lovely piece, as usual. Thank you –

    I fly to Israel July 1 and will be house-sitting in Tzur Hadassah for a couple of months.

    It would be wonderful to see you for tea or to help you with a task or something.

    I’ll be in touch!

    With love,

    Carrie

    • Always lovely to hear from you. Am going through a bit of a difficult time now as my husband Harry is in hospital, but please be in touch when you get here. Much love Dvora

  2. This is oh so true Dvora. I have helped a few senior to write down some of their life experiences…a memoir of sorts. Many want to start with, “I was born…” and go chronologically from there. Big snore!! We need to pick and choose the passionate moments in our lives and sew them together create a patchwork of beautiful memories. Well done – always love your posts so much.

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