Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing
Main Requirements
• The essay will aim to interest or give pleasure,
rather than simply convey information.
• It will concern itself with, usually, a single idea,
insight or experience.
• Be thoughtful in tone and convey a sense of
the writer’s personality, authorial voice & stance.
• Reveal the thought processes of the writer and
engage the reader in the writer’s process of
An Reflective essay is NOT
simply an account of an
It must contain thoughtful
reflection and be entertaining
for the reader.
• Take a single personal experience, idea or
insight as a starting point or stimulus
• Show writer’s interesting and/or entertaining
thoughts on this central stimulus
• Develop thoughts and move out beyond
immediate starting point to REFLECT in wider
way on some aspect(s) of the experience, idea
or insight.
• Something of writer’s personality will emerge
from this process of reflection.
• Pick an initial stimulus.
• Explore initial stimulus in an interesting
and entertaining way.
• Move out and beyond initial stimulus to
establish a thoughtful tone.
• Reveal aspects of the writer’s personality
and thought processes.
• Personal experience – must have
potential for development into thoughtful,
reflective piece.
• Can’t be too trivial or slight – incidents
rather than experiences
• Can’t be too complex, painful or confusing
for you to articulate any kind of meaningful
reflective comment.
Example Stimuli
• You return home from school one day to
find your house has been burgled.
• You witness a particularly cruel bullying
• You’ve been an only child for 15 years
when a ‘late’ baby arrives in your family.
Hints and Tips
• This is still a type of expressive writing, so use
all your creative writing techniques to make your
writing vivid, descriptive and enjoyable for the
• You can enhance/exaggerate your personal
experience to make it more interesting or fit your
purpose better.
• Be imaginative, clever and original in your
reflection. Think about emotions, issues and
circumstances that effect us everyday. Think
about them in a new and interesting way.
True Reflection
• For a truly insightful and reflective piece,
worthy of a good grade, you must use your
reflective topic or experience to not only
engage in private/personal reflection, but
also try to broaden your reflection out to
engage with:
The Human Condition
All Reflective
essays should
focus on some
aspect of this
What is it?
The main
focus of
make some
sort of point
about how we
live – what
makes us tick
You should try
to explore it in
a unique and
new way
The human
condition is
about how we
live our lives
and how
human nature
It can be
with positive
or negative
aspects – how
we behave,
obstacles or
challenges we
how we react
Some Ideas
• Reflect on the Human Condition through an
experience of a particular emotion e.g.:
- Disappointment
- Regret
- Sense of Humility
- Elation/epiphany
- Bitterness
- Acute Jealousy
- A sense of failure
- Guilt
- Anger/Rage
- Betrayal
- Humiliation
- Rejection
- Inner peace
- Grief
Some Ideas
• Reflect on the Human Condition through an image or
common experience e.g.:
- An empty room
- A crowded beach
- A new-born baby
- An individual hostile face or group of hostile faces
- An old man/woman struggling with something
- A landscape devastated by a natural disaster
- Unspoilt beauty in nature
Some Ideas
• Reflect on the Human Condition through
common life experiences e.g.:
- Making decisions/choices (big & small)
- Facing challenges
- Doing something you don’t want to do
- Facing change and new things in life
- Rites of passage – growing older
- Facing loss and grief
Some Ideas
• Reflect on the Human Condition through thoughtprovoking topics e.g.:
- The power of prayer/religion/faith
- The complexity of the human brain
- The power of art/music/drama etc.
- The nature of compassion/charity
- Hope and Survival
- The meaning of charity
- Truth and lies
- Showing Courage
- Hypocrisy