If you can catch their attention early, they stay with you longer. That's the rule for any piece of writing ranging from essays, novels to even speeches, if you want your readers or listeners to stay involved. Like a conversation starter, the first few lines of any essay, including a reflective one are going to make the first impression and it could pretty much end up being the last impression, if the reader is not patient enough to read through the whole essay. Ergo, you need to take the starting of your reflective essay seriously. In this Penlighten article, I share some tips on how to start a reflective essay that builds interest in the mind of any reader, encouraging him or her to continue through the main text of your write up.
About Reflective Essays
Though the structure of a reflective essay is not set in stone, it is generally focused on reviewing an experience, analyzing an issue or it may be aimed at putting certain things in perspective. Through such an essay, the writer looks back at certain past events and experiences which have left an impression on him or ponder on fundamental issues that need clarification. As the name itself suggests, it's a 'Reflective' write up where you walk back to those moments which you experienced in the past and look back at them anew and ponder about what they gave you and how they influenced your life. You analyze how different a person you are, before and after going through an experience.
A reflective essay might be a justification of your opinions regarding any issue or phenomenon. If it's purely a point of debate you try to resolve through your essay, it has to provide a clear rationale to justify your views.
How to Start a Reflective Essay Which Grips the Reader?
As far as writing essays is concerned, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way of beginning it. You have complete freedom in expressing yourself anyway you want. Same goes with a reflective essay. Here are some suggestions on how you could start your essay flamboyantly.
Humor Is the Way
A sprinkling of humor right at the start of the essay can make it an enjoyable read. Start with a funny incident or a funny realization that makes the experience or issue you are going to talk about, even more interesting. An undercurrent of humor and reflection of wry wit makes any essay interesting.
Emphasize Why the Issue is Important to You
The prime thought which you must focus upon in the beginning, is the purpose of writing this essay. Begin with a justification of why is it so important that you reflect upon the things you talk about through that essay.
Begin With Recounting an Experience
Another way of beginning an essay would be to begin with recounting of an experience directly, which takes the reader to the core thought or phenomenon which you plan to analyze through an essay. If you are talking about animal rights, recount your first experience of seeing an animal being butchered and what impression it left upon you. If you are talking about gender equality, start with recounting an experience which was a clear example of male chauvinism.
Start With a Quote Which Sums Up Your Experience
Alternatively you could start with a quote or thought that is the pivotal lesson or the central core of what the experience you went through, has taught you. It has to be a thought which sums up all that you plan to say through the essay. Then you can go deeper and develop your line of thinking which justifies your line of thinking.
Begin With Questions
Instead of giving the answers right at the start, ask questions at the beginning that you plan to answer through your essay. Let these questions be such that they attack the heart of the issue, you are trying to resolve.
There are no set rules on starting essays and it's best you come up with your own original introduction. Just try and convey the reason why narrating this experience through this essay is important to you and why the experiences recounted here are worth sharing. Start writing the essay as you would recount the experience or discuss the thought with a close friend and get the reader involved in it. Good luck!