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How to Write an Inspirational Essay


The purpose of an inspirational essay is to tell a story that encourages others and gives them hope. The task is not as easy as you think: You must consciously think about the story you’re telling and structure it in a way that teaches the audience a lesson and gives them a reason to follow your guidance.

Brainstorm

Consider the audience you’re writing the inspirational essay for. For example, if you’re writing to high school graduates, your approach and topic will be different than if you are writing for senior citizens.

Write down all of your essay topic ideas. Keep your audience in mind, but don’t limit yourself; write down any inspirational stories, themes or ideas you think about.

Review your inspirational ideas. Note which ideas you like and cross out the ones you don’t.

Expand on your chosen idea. Once you’ve determined a topic, think of the core message you want to send with your inspirational essay. Write down any supporting ideas or anecdotes that go along with your core message. For example, if you’re writing an inspirational essay to graduating seniors, your core message might be something like “pursue your dreams, no matter what.”

Outline

Write the introduction. Your introduction should hook the reader, so consider starting with an anecdote or the beginning of a story. Ultimately, your inspirational essay will revolve around your core message, even if you don’t explicitly state that message in the essay. With the graduating senior example, you could start the introduction with a story of your own high school graduation and how you were unsure what path to take.

Create the body of the essay. The body builds on the core message, so make sure each paragraph builds on your core message and leads the essay to a final conclusion.

Conclude the story. The personal essay conclusion ties the core message together with the main points of the story and should call the audience to some sort of action. For example, the essay for graduating seniors might include personal sharing of traumatic events or obstacles you overcame in your life to graduate from high school with high honors. You could then point out that hard work, positive thinking and determination are the keys to weathering adversity. Challenge them to take risks and push themselves in pursuit of lofty goals.

Write

Use your outline as a guide and write out the essay from beginning to end. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling errors at this time–just write until you’re satisfied with the essay.

Take a break and leave the rough draft alone for an extended period of time.

Review your rough draft. The break between writing and review allows you to look at your inspirational essay with a new perspective. By doing this, you might notice that your essay doesn’t make sense and you need to add to it or make changes.

Repeat the writing process. Do this as many times as necessary until you’re satisfied with your draft.

Edit

Review your essay draft carefully. Look for spelling, grammatical and other errors. Make necessary changes.

Critically evaluate your essay and decide if it makes sense and tells a cohesive story around your core message. Make changes, if necessary.

Ask an outside editor to offer constructive criticism on your work. Outside editors can be friends, teachers or professional editors that you trust to suggest changes.

Repeat the editing process until you’re confident the inspirational essay is written to the best of your ability.

About the Author

Lea Winters has written professionally since 2003. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, covering entertainment, style and beauty topics. Winters holds a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Science in international business from the University of Nebraska.

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