The Ultimate Go-to Guide On How to Write a Compelling Reflective Essay

15 April 2020 how to write a reflective essay

Are you looking through the window and pondering how to write your reflective essay? Then bid your worries to let you off as this article gives the most practical guidelines on how to write an outstanding reflective essay. Custom Writing Bee is devoted to offering essay writing service according to your topic for all niches.

Moreover, Custom Writing Bee provides an expert guide on maneuvering through the unsettling process of writing a reflective essay. Check out the procedure for the guidelines below for more.

What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is an expression of emotions and thoughts about a life experience. It’s an opportunity to carefully examine an event or phenomena for and narrate it to an audience. When writing such an essay, you should analyze the past activity, give the experiences chronologically, and draw the lessons from the perspective of the present. 

A reflective essay primarily serves to give a glimpse into your history and how the event impacted your traits and personality. As a result, you vividly describe feelings and reactions in the reflective essay anew.

Writing a Reflective Essay Systematically

You need critical thinking and creativity skills to express opinions with clarity on the topic of your choice. Therefore, these guidelines below will help you to explore and sharpen your skills on how to write a reflective essay:

Deciding on the Topic of the Reflective Essay

In a reflective essay, you cannot cook a topic since it should be a personal experience. With this in mind, the reflective essay topic chiefly comes from the event you discuss. 

In case you’ve run out of reflective essay topic ideas, here are a few.

  • An event you imagine to have been
  • A real-life experience
  • A place you have been to or object you used
  • Anything that engaged any of your five senses such something you heard, watched or tasted

Additionally, here are some of the tips to help you in choosing your reflective essay topics:

  • What do you envision to be?
  • What are the qualities you like about yourself?
  • How do you subside stress?
  • What are your major fears in life?

By all means, such questions evoke memories that would profoundly give a compelling story worth telling. Expressly, choose a single event whose detail you can recall and describe. It ought to be an experience that your audience would find interesting to read and relevant to inspire, give hope, enhance the resolve to achieve dreams, rebuke a lousy trait and equip with skills of solving life problems.

Once you have identified the event that gives the topic, think about how the event impacted you and your real feelings about the event. Your feelings precisely suggest the thesis statement of the reflective essay. Consequently, other ideas used to describe the topic revolves around this thesis statement.

Making the Writing Plan

The reflective essay outline comes first before you settle to write anything. In the first place, identify the main ideas surrounding your thesis statement. Arrange the ideas chronologically to help the audience understand the flow of how you fared. You will expound on those ideas later when writing to show their central relation to the thesis statement.

Importance of Writing a Plan

Planning will ultimately help you from straying into other events or dwelling on another character that influenced the moment you’re describing. Further, it lays bare the overall structure so that no thought is forgotten or added unreasonably towards the end. This point by point approach also helps you avoid repetition of ideas or improper allusion. To sum up, repetition and haphazard recollection give an impression of an ill-crafted reflective essay.

Planning is Done Severally

Making a plan is not a one-sitting session. All the ideas cannot flood the mind at a single instant. From time to time, note down what you recall. Then use what you have to brainstorm more on the experience you want to write.

If you risk delaying, begin with the ideas that you have. In the meantime, record any sprouting thoughts as you write lest you forget it.

Planning Time and Environment

Sometimes the environment will not allow you to be retrospective. Some experiences could also knock you down with fresh bouts of emotions. Therefore, find a spot, whether in privacy or in public, where you can rollover your memories undisturbed. The environment should certainly have marks that can remind you of the details of your experience. The spot could be preferably a silent room, beside a river or in the rooftop.

For instance, you may need to visit a high school to recall the fresh memories of the days of bullying that you underwent years before. 

Choose your best time, preferably at dawn or evening on a starry night. Under those circumstances, memories can keep fleeting in mind without disruption. After you have exhausted putting your thoughts at the moment, you can pause to refresh up and then pick the recollection at another session.

Use All the Means to Brainstorm

Sometimes the power of reminiscing over the past comes to a lull. Thus spicing up the ability to bring fond memories is a necessity. For instance, you can close your eyes and open the pages of life that cannot open while the immediate environment is in full sight. Alongside the meditation, read stories that are synonymous with yours. Listen and watch episodes that can help bring back the receding past. If the real weight of memories fails to resurface in due time, you may consider reliving a portion of the experience so long as it is not harmful. 

At these times, be wise to have a notebook to record any new points of your experience that you may remember.

The Structure of the Reflective Essay

A reflective essay, just like all other types of essays, must have the following parts:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

An explicit content gives a reflective essay the elegant touch that separates it from other forms types of essays. You ought to consider reading reflective essay examples to grasp its unique content.

The Introduction

Have you ever shelved the thought that comes to your mind on how to start a reflective essay? Here is how you were supposed to go about it. The introduction should be catchy enough to plunge the reader into the content. The hooking statement portrays to the reader the vibrant and exciting aspects of your experience.

A thesis statement follows the hooking sentence. The thesis statement contains the most significant aspect of your event, where the whole reflective essay focuses. It mainly gives an overview of the impression that would stir the reader’s curiosity. Beware that too much information in the thesis statement makes the reader disinterested.

When tempted to postpone the writing

The art of starting to write a reflective essay is marred with doubts on the best statement. The best technique is to start early, and you will have plenty of time to fine-tune everything. Remember, the first draft will always need corrections to bring it into harmony with the thesis statement.

However, this does not indicate any slight deviation from the plan. Adhering to the reflective essay outline limits the possibility of meandering too far from the thesis statement. All in all, scribble your thoughts, experiences, emotions, and opinions as they freely come out of your mind.

The Body

Every first sentence in the body paragraphs should aim at immersing the audience into the wealth of your reflective essay. The sections should vividly describe real-life features. The creativity in each chapter that meticulously describes the details captivates the audience with a spellbound excitement. Hence, the reader cannot help but read.

Typically concentrate on the critical elements of your experience. The reflections should help the reader understand how the experience impacted you. Show your personality through the mesh of your reactions to the circumstances that occurred to you. Importantly, unveil the encounter using a reflective posture where the chain of events ties to the thesis statement.

Writing a reflective essay requires the use of the first-person point of view to express the ideas. This view gives the reader the impression that you are genuinely giving emotion, thoughts, and opinions about yourself. By all means, use the right words that express what you felt initially. The originality of the reflective essay gives the savor to continue reading.

Being Descriptive in Reflective Essay

Reflective essays have a descriptive component. You need first to gather adjectives to help you convey the varied emotions. These adjectives need to be simple since the primary goal of writing a reflective essay is to engage the audience coherently. For this reason, avoid vague adjectives that tell nothing about your personality and add no savor to describing emotions.

Be Honest in Expression

Honesty is useful in expressing your feelings in a reflective essay since you have no victimization to fear. Give your opinions as the mind dictates. Honesty in your reflection essay is cathartic if you are writing a real experience.

Spice It Up With Other Sources

Though a reflective essay is based on personal experience, alluding to other sources gives it a more polished perspective. It demonstrates to the reader that you have analyzed your event with other similar ones. The audience reads your reflective essay as reliable content. Generally, journals, surveys, and books contain theoretical perspectives you may use to enrich your reflective essay.

The goal is to paint the ideal picture for the reader, who was not present. Use literary skills to involve the reader in the noise, smell, and taste of the event. Let the audience read and consider what they could have done were they in your position. The reflective essay should not feel like dusting a speechless relic.

Be Brief

You need to keep your story short as no reader would read a lengthy account of your experience. Besides, maintaining the reflective essay short helps you from being irrelevant and reiterating ideas. The descriptive ability diminishes when a reflective essay gives a long epic. Thus a story lacks the brightness it should have. Long articles usually tend to consolidate portions of other experiences that are irrelevant to the topic.

Maintain a Professional Tone

Avoid slang and stick to the formal language. Remember, you are writing a reflective essay that will not be a personal journal, and the audience cannot understand slang. In essence, be formal, or your piece would be incomprehensible.

Avoid dragging another person into your reflective essay. Dwelling on someone instead of their actions makes the reflective essay lose meaning. The conclusions should be about the impact of the experience in personality and traits that the reader should draw from the event covered by the topic.

The Conclusion

A reflective essay conclusion wraps up all the reflective essay ideas and the lessons learned from the experience. Give the main reasons why your attitudes and traits changed. The skills acquired, and the character strengthened should be spelled out obviously. You need to tell your reader what you understood about yourself from that experience. Highlight what you would do differently in the future should the same experience recur. Further, explain briefly the step you took to piece together the lessons learned from the experience.

Proofread Your Reflective Essay 

The main target is to write an exemplary reflective essay by drawing curtains in your life. Hence you should be professional. For best proofreading, you need to take a break and allow the emotions to settle. Once the mind relaxes, you would be able to realize some mistakes such as:

  • An adjective used awkwardly to describe a piece of experience
  • A reiterated idea that brings redundancy
  • Grammatical errors resulting from things such as slang
  • Inconsistency of the flow of ideas 
  • Forgotten thoughts that leave the gap in the chain of experiences

Need Help Writing a Reflective Essay?

I bet that you are now fully equipped with all the techniques of writing the most eye-catching reflective essay. Are you inspired to write your first reflective essay sample? The next thing to work on is nurturing your experience.

Custom Writing Bee is here to help you build your experience. We have numerous reflective essay examples from which you can read to gauge your ability and be inspired to write. If you need additional assignment help, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

You can order a custom essay on any topic from our essay writing service today. 



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