Writing Assignment: Personal Reflection

by Randy Murray on March 12, 2010

If your goal is to become a better writer, you need to practice. Here’s your writing assignment for today: write a paragraph of personal reflection.

In so much writing today we are asked to write coolly and dispassionately that we forget how to put ourselves fully into our writing. Even in business writing there is often a need to make a personal plea or strong and individual call for action. To do this, you’ll need to be able to insert yourself into your writing

The real exercise in this and other work you do is to be able to write in what is recognizably your own voice. As with other writing, this can be more difficult than you might imagine. It’s very easy to slip into a cool and removed persona or one that we might imagine a writer should be. To write in your own voice will take practice.

For today’s exercise, select a personal thought and write from your own voice. Your goal is to make your written voice sound like your speaking voice. After you’ve finished, read your work out loud and revise it with that in mind. And as always, send or give your completed assignment to someone to review and comment.

Here’s my example:

“I often think that Edgar Allan Poe wrote the poem “The Bells” just so he could use the work ‘tintinnabulation’. That’s how I work and it must be so for the great writers, too. Or I hope it is. Words and bits of ideas stick in my ears, lodge in my brain, and pop up at strange and inconvenient times. Frankly, to exorcise these demons I have to use them in something I’m writing. That seems to make them a part of that piece, not just something rattling around my head. Poe is thought of as a haunted writer, but I think it was words, sounds, and thoughts that tormented him, not just the rum.  He wrestled with these troublesome thoughts until he bound them in words, captured them on the page. The trouble is that I’m not quite sure to do with ‘tintinnabulation’ now that it’s bouncing around behind my eyes. Damn you, Poe!”

You may leave your completed assignment in the comments section below.

Click here to view and complete previous writing assignments.

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