Reflective writing is the bread and butter of many blogs, and yet, it is not always something which is done well. When writing in first person about your own thoughts, opinions and experiences there is a tendency to assume that anything goes. Of course anything can go, this is your space after all, but as with any other type of writing there are conventions for writing reflectively too.
What is Reflective Writing?
In a reflective post you are essentially examining your life experiences. The purpose is not only to recount a particular life experience, but also to explore how you have changed or what you have learnt from the experience.
Your focus could be about personal growth in terms of understanding your own response to something, or it might be about knowledge and what you have learnt about a particular topic. For example, on my own blog I tend to reflect on my relationship and on what I have discovered about my submission, but there are other pieces where I reflect on a an aspect of BDSM and how my thoughts on that have changed and developed.
The Subjective and the Objective
Reflective writing is pretty unique in that it combines the subjective with the objective. It is important to get a balance of these two strances. Too much objectivity and your post becomes informational, too much subjectivity and it will lack authenticity.
Subjective information or writing is based on personal opinions, interpretations, points of view, emotions and judgment. It is often considered ill-suited for scenarios like news reporting or decision making in business or politics. Objective information or analysis is fact-based, measurable and observable.
When you are writing reflectively, the purpose is to draw the reader into your own experience so that they undergo the same reflection that you do and, in turn, hopefully learn something. If you tell them objectively what you have discovered it will not allow them the chance to engage with the experience.
Whereas if you only talk subjectively about how you felt, you will distance them from the process. Combining both these aspects in a way which is balanced will create a more successful piece of writing.
The overall purpose, therefore, is to show how our experiences have influenced our behaviour; what have we learnt and how will we change as a result? Reflective writing is very personal and aims to engage your reader so there is much more to it than simply retelling a story. You need to be able to reflect on your experience by showing how it influenced your subsequent behaviours and how your life has been changed as a result.
Other Posts in this Series
This post is the first in a series of five posts about reflective writing. The others are part of our Member Content and will be published over the next few weeks so look out for them if you found this useful and would like to know more.
- Using Reflective Questions
- How to Use Language
- Structuring your Post
- Spoken Voice