This I Believe
Preparing the Essay - Five W's
What do you believe?
Based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, Americans from all walks of life share the personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives.
'This I Believe' Essay-Writing Instructions
We invite you to contribute to this project by writing and submitting your own statement of personal belief. We understand how challenging this is -- it requires such intimacy that no one else can do it for you. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:
Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching -- it can even be funny -- but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That's about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can't name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on a core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don't believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial "we." Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: This is radio. Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.
For this project, we are also guided by the original This I Believe series and the producers' invitation to those who wrote essays in the 1950s. Their advice holds up well and we are abiding by it. Please consider it carefully in writing your piece.
In introducing the original series, host
Edward R. Murrow said, "Never has the need for personal philosophies
of this kind been so urgent." We would argue that the need
is as great now as it was 50 years ago. We are eager for your
When you write your essay, we encourage you to:
1. Please limit your essay to less than 500 words.
2. Describe an event that shaped your beliefs or a person who inspired them.
3. Avoid sermons and editorials -- no soapbox declamations, please!
4. Read more of our essay-writing tips.
To actually submit, you will copy and paste in your MS Word Essay.
Please tell us what it was like to write your essay.
Was it an easy or a challenging experience?
Please limit your response to 600 - 800 words.
You will copy this from your document titled TIBR.