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How to Write a Biographical Essay: Professional Recommendations
How to Write a Biographical Essay: Professional Recommendations

May 21, 2020

When your instructor assigns you to submit your own biography, you should be definitely aware how to write a biographical essay and how to organize it properly. The very first thing you need to be aware of is that this essay aims to tell the story of your life over a certain period. As such, writing this academic task may be a great opportunity for you to delve deeper into your personal experience and life story and focus on the key aspects that you would like to share with others. If you are not given a specific task to write a biographical essay based on your own life, you may choose to present a biography on someone else. Among the major ideas which person to choose for essay writing are the following:

  • historical figures;
  • your favorite actor/ actress;
  • your favorite writer;
  • your favorite character;
  • some politician;
  • some influential person;
  • a businessman;
  • other famous people.

As you see, when it comes to the academic writing, it is not only your personality that you should focus on when working on biographical essay writing.

The main principle of working on biographical essays is to succeed in revealing the personality and individual traits vividly and in a detail to make it easier for your target readers to become familiar with the person you are writing about. Specifically, it would be recommended to focus on individual contributions, the work they did or some specific activity they have become famous for. When developing the ideas in the paper, you would be really encouraged to conclude on the overall long-lasting impact provided by the person you have chosen.

Practical Tips on How to Write a Biographical Essay

  1. Come up with the topic. Make sure the subject of your investigation is fairly interesting both for you and your target audience. Managing to strike a balance between these two criteria is really important for the overall success of your writing. Still, make sure you base your choice on the topic or person that you are really passionate about. In this case, the process of writing will turn out to be much easier.
  2. Start collecting information about the person you intend to write about. Be sure to use credible and trustworthy sources of information in order not to present some fake data.
  3. Make sure the main idea of your essay is based on some story. There should be some central story about the person of your choice in order to maintain logical coherence and connection between different details. Another reason why it is advisable to focus on one story is in order not to provide different stories that may seem unrelated at first sight.
  4. Include the details that you think are worth mentioning. You will not be able to cover all details from the person’s biography, so focus merely on those that you consider to be worthy (those that are the major ones and the most impactful).
  5. Make sure that your story has some purpose. Think of what purpose you persevere while narrating a story of some person. What would you like to tell about him/ her? Bearing this purpose in mind would make the story even more exciting.
  6. Organize ideas for your essay. After you have investigated the needed information and collected all facts, please try to organize your ideas into a coherent and logical way. In other words, organizational stage and the process of structuring is a must after the brainstorming process.
  7. Once you have written a rough draft, be sure to re-read it and check whether the ideas are comprehensible. Try to focus attention not merely on the content but also on grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Ins and Outs of Drafting Your Biographical Essay

  1. Start with organizing the events in a chronological order since chronological order is something that will bring clarity to your biographical essay. If you wonder how to do it in the best way, please check out some biographical essay example found online. As a rule, most of the biographies are provided in the chronological order. Afterwards, focus on one most important and striking thing about that person (which may actually serve as a reason why you have chosen to write about him/ her) and base the central story on that fact.
  2. Start writing introduction. This is the opening paragraph that is actually the very first part of your text that your reader sees. As such, writing an outstanding introduction is your chance to attract attention of your target audience and make them stay focused on your piece of writing. So, try out some attention-grabbing technique for organizing the introduction in the best way. Specifically, you may introduce some catchy quote, provide some controversial information, mention some surprising fact, tell some kind of a joke or start straightaway with some accomplishment the person is famous for.
  3. Move on to the development of the main body. Try to devote each body paragraph to a separate idea you would like to present. Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence and then provide supporting information and examples to make the development of ideas logical and demonstrate that you have carried out some research to find out information about the person you write about. Make sure to end each paragraph with a closing sentence to ensure finalized thought and summation of the facts.
  4. Proceed to conclusion. Closure is essential in any work: whether it is a written paper or an oral presentation. Try not to include any new information in the conclusion be emphasize on some really important aspect once again in order to leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Biographical Essay Example to Read (“Biography of Jackie Robinson”)

The American society in the 1950’s was characterized by a rise of celebrities who bonded the country on common ground. During this time, the country was under tremendous stress from economic and political instability. These were as a result of the adverse effects of the Second World War. This was also the time when the country was undertaking the Korean War, the cold war and also the Suez Canal crisis. With all this going on, popular culture was a great diversion for the American people. The 1950’s offered the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley on the entertainment front.

One of the key celebrated persons of this era was Jackie Robinson. Any sports loving American knows that Jackie is a figure to be reckoned with in baseball circles. In 1947, he became the first African American player to be featured in a game of mixed colors. During this time, slavery had not been fully eliminated in the country. Following the efforts of reconstruction, some states in the south did not fully abolish their slavery ways. Even in those that did, African Americans were secluded and not allowed to mix freely with the whites. Although in the 1900’s this was not as pronounced as it was earlier, it was still a tough time to grow up as an African American.

Robinson’s early life was not smooth sailing. He was born in 1919, right after the First World War, in a family of five. Theirs was a life of relative poverty, with their mother working a number of odd jobs to make their ends meet. Robinson flirted with the idea of a local gang, although he would later abandon that line and embark on school. He joined John Muir High School, where his sports talents were discovered and encouraged. He not only participated in one sport, but four, all in which he performed excellently. These were football, baseball, tennis, track and basketball. Such talent is rare, and a person possessing it can be known as a genius.

His sports persona blossomed even at the Pasadena Junior College. In 1938, he won the award for the most valuable player in the region. His tenure at the college was, however, not without controversy. He was branded an egotistic racism, a term which he waded with dignity. After university, Robinson chose to pursue a career in football, though it was short lived because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Before being drafted into the army, Robinson was playing for an all black football club called Honolulu Bears. His great sport journey was cut short by his two year stint in the military, from which he was discharged after charges of insubordination.

After a brief return to football coaching, Robinson changed paths to baseball, when he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs. Although initially excited by the opportunity, he would later come to hate it due to the disorganization and lack of morals though which the league was run. He attributed this partly to the fact that the league was all black, and it lacked the serious element of major white leagues. He longed for a chance to participate in the more professional league.  His prayers were answered when in 1947 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This move was received with jubilation from the black community. It represented a win, and a step in the direction of eliminating racial discrimination in the country. Some of the white folks, however, especially some players of the team, saw it as unacceptable and even refused to play alongside Robinson. This did not deter his career, as he was backed by the majority of the black community and the team’s management. This move also propelled him to nationwide fame. With time he would gain favor with some of his teammates as well. A year later some other African American players were featured in the major league, hence easing the racial attention that Jackie was getting. He went on to lead a decent career up until 1955 when he retired, after leading his team to a national championship. Even with this win this was one of his worst years since he played very few games and also scored poorly because of his advancing age and failing health.

Sports was not the only thing that the man excelled in. after retiring from football, he tried his hand in business. He was a director at Chick full o’Nuts. He also participated in founding the Freedom National Bank in Harlem. Its main aim was providing banking services to the black community, who did not have many facilities at their disposal. These ventures were both successful, although the bank closed down in 1990. Being a jack of many trades, he also worked as a sports analyst. He was among the first African Americans to hold such a job. By so doing, he paved a way for black people into the entertainment, and more so radio business.

As a family man, Robinson’s life had many ups and downs. His wife Rachel went into the career line of nursing, and rose to become a professor at the Yale School of Nursing. They have three children, one of whom struggled with emotional and mental problems, and was killed in an accident. The other son lives in Tanzania, east Africa, while the daughter became an author. Towards the end of his life, Robinson occupied himself with courses such as anti-addiction crusades. He experienced failing health as a result of diabetes complications and injuries suffered during his time as a player.  All in all Robinson led a full and rich life, and is succeeded by his wife and two remaining children.

Robinson’s story is one of two worlds. It is a story of extreme chances taken by a young boy in pursuit of success and equality. He represents the typical struggling man who beats all odds and rises to the heights of the great. He remains a pillar in the black community, and one of the contributors to the civil rights movement, which eventually led to the ending of racial discrimination in the United States. Through his story, people have a chance to see that they can accomplish anything that they set their mind to, with or without the challenges that are present in life. Even in his death, Jackie Robinson lives on through his family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

If you are still wondering how to write a biographical essay and if the aforementioned tips and recommendations have not helped you, be sure that you can look for some short excerpts of biographical writing online.

Sample