For me, the benefits of writing an essay are very therapeutic.
My essay ideas always begin with a problem, frustration or challenge I am facing in real life. As I work my way through the piece, I get a lot off of my chest.
Then I am forced to look at the universal appeal of my problem. Who else might be experiencing this? How can I make a large audience relate to what is going on in my life?
Finally, I must develop a new way to look at the issue. I either solve my own problem or realize that I can put a positive spin on what was initially a very negative situation. Hopefully, I have done the same for my reader.
I have even found that adding a little touch of research, either within the body of the essay or as a sidebar, can be a great way to learn more about my topic and share with others.
I'd love to hear more about your writing process and whether you find this type of writing therapeutic as well!
In the writing spirit...