How to Write a Reflective Essay

Reflective Essay Writing

The lovely thing about writing essays of the reflective variety is, first and foremost, that you do not need to conduct research and speak to the facts, ideas, or opinions of others.  Here, you are able to put forth your own thoughts and opinions, with the only supporting detail coming from that upon which you are reflecting.  The best example of help with writing essays may indeed be a book or movie review; however, in writing essays for college that are reflective, a student may find them assigned in a wide variety of courses. Writing essays in English classes will usually be in response to a piece of literature you have read.  In science, social science, education, philosophy, business and other courses, however, you may be asked to reflect on the non-fiction writings, ideas, or presentations of others in that field.


Writing essays of reflection will require the standard essay format of all such writing – an introduction, boy and conclusion.

The Introduction

Your essay must have a thesis statement.  Remember, as much as a reflective can be a creative writing essay exercise, it must also have a major point or purpose.  If you patently disagree with what another author has stated, you must say so; if something you have read, heard or seen has had a profound impact on you or your values, you must say so.

The Body

At least three body paragraphs must divide your reflection into logical and coherent sub-parts.  Find three points of disagreement with an author and discuss each one in a paragraph with good transitions.  Find three elements of what you have read, seen, or heard that impacted you and describe each in a paragraph.  Supporting detail should come from the actual work, event, or experience.

The Conclusion

The conclusion should re-state your thesis in a different way and perhaps describe how the experience has changed you or your thinking or, conversely, solidified what you have always felt or believed.  Don’t insert new information or responses that you did not cover in the body portion of the essay.

When You Have Difficulty

It is not unusual for students to struggle with creative writing essays of some types.  No one can be proficient with all types of writing without serious practice.  If you are having difficulty with reflective essay writing, you may want to read such works written by others.  Movie and book reviewers are especially good models for response writing; non-fiction authors with strong opinions often reflect upon those beliefs that are contrary to theirs.  As you read more reflective pieces, and practice the skills involved, you will get better! 

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