Writing the Personal Experience Article

Enjoying my favorite fishing spot–Horn Island, off the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Mississippi Sound. I have lots of personal experiences from this place!

One of the best ways to begin a professional writing career in the Christian industry is through personal experience articles. This is how I started. Such articles require little if any research and teach lessons the writer learned from his/her experience.

            Here are four rules for writing them.

1.         The experience must be true. We may not remember our experience’s every detail, but we must try to be as accurate as possible. If others accompanied us during our experience,  we can always ask them questions to refresh our memories. If we teach a negative lesson through our experience (what not to do), we must be the one who learned it. We writers must be secure enough to be vulnerable, which means having a willingness to expose our   shortcomings and mistakes to the world.

2.         The article must have a strong opening. If we don’t hook our readers in the first sentence,  or at least the first paragraph, readers will probably set aside our work and go on to other  things.

3.         The article must use fiction techniques. When we write a personal experience article we’re also telling a story. Like any other story, it must include action, conflict, dialogue, description… all the basic elements fiction requires. If we can’t recall exactly what a person said during our experience, at least write the essence of it. That’s all we can do.

4.         The article must teach a lesson without being preachy. What is preachiness? It’s moralizing on and on, as though lecturing(or preaching) to our readers. Instead of  doing this, let the story itself teach the lesson. At the end of the article, use a short takeaway message and/or Bible verse to reinforce our main point. “Short” is the key word here.     

Well, these are some thoughts on writing the personal experience article. Give it a try!

Till next week, keep tapping those laptop keys!