Reflective writing tips

Aim to be descriptive in your use of language. You should use imagery, sentence structure and other techniques to bring your writing to life.

Pay particular attention to describing your thoughts and feelings about the event, experience, person or thing. Describe your emotions and reactions from the time it took place and from your perspective now to prove you have thought about it and are able to reflect upon it.

Remember your audience. You will probably write about something from your own experience but the reader will be irritated if you keep writing in the first person ('I went', 'I did', 'I saw', I got) without pausing to put across something more meaningful.

Try to make the reader share in the experience or feeling you are trying to describe.

Show, don’t tell. Make good use of description to create a vivid impression of the experience or feeling rather than simply listing what happened.

Write your essay with an overall emotion or theme in mind - happiness, excitement, fear, sorrow - and plan the language and structure to match.

Don't weaken the impact of your writing by including boring details. If it's not going to add to the feeling or insight you want to create, why put it in?

There should always be a sense of development. You need to think about how the experience has changed you or others. You might consider what you have learned about yourself, how you have changed and what you could have done differently.

Statements such as, 'At the time', 'Looking back', and 'I can see now' can start the reflective thinking process.

Try not to use adjectives such as ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘nice’ or ‘good’. They don't really tell us how you felt about something, and they do not reflect your personality.

Don't forget to check your spelling, punctuation and sentence and paragraph structures.

Personal writing is a popular choice but you must reflect on the experience before you write. This should help you to avoid a boring account of events.

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