But don’t fall into the trap of thinking your story has to be tragic to be worthy. You don’t have to have a big dramatic trauma in your life to create engaging personal writing. Small moments which have a big impact on you work too. A student of mine wrote about a row boat she and her dad used when she was a kid and in her essay the boat came to represent her love for and connection to her dad. I told her to show it to him and she said he got a bit choked up and emotional when he read it… but she didn’t put in a “false” ending. She didn’t have some big reveal at the end (her Dad dying or something) because there was no need. It was a quiet piece of writing – a quiet tribute to their relationship. She didn’t reach for melodrama and her writing was all the better as a result.