Personal Narrative | Definition, Ideas & Examples


A personal narrative is a special kind of writing where you tell your story. It’s like sharing a piece of your life with others through words. When you write a narrative, you’re not just writing about what happened but sharing your feelings, thoughts, and unique perspective on life. It’s a creative way to express yourself and let others see the world through your eyes. So, let’s explore how you can make your narrative not just a story but a reflection of who you are.

What is a Personal Narrative?

A personal narrative is a form of creative nonfiction that uses the first-person point of view to recount a personal experience. It differs from a biography or an autobiography in that it focuses on a specific event or a series of events that shaped your identity, values, or worldview. A personal narrative is not a factual report of what happened, but a subjective interpretation of how you felt, what you learned, and what you want to convey to the readers.

How to Write a Personal Narrative?

Writing a personal narrative can be a rewarding and enjoyable process, but it also requires some planning and preparation. If needed, you can hire a narrative writer. Here are some steps to help you write a personal narrative:

1- Choose a Topic

Choose a topic that interests you and that you want to share with others. Think about why this topic is important to you and what message you want to convey.

2- Ideas for Your Story:

Brainstorm some ideas for your story. You can use a mind map, a list, or a journal to jot down some details, such as the setting, the characters, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution.

3- Create an Outline:

Create an outline for your narrative. You can use a traditional structure of introduction, body, and conclusion, or you can experiment with different formats, such as flashbacks, dialogue, or descriptive scenes.

4- Write your first draft:

Use the first-person point of view and vivid language to engage the readers and make them feel like they are part of your story. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or word count at this stage. Just focus on expressing your thoughts and emotions.

5- Revise your draft:

Read your strong narrative writing aloud and check for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Make sure your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and that it flows smoothly from one paragraph to another. You can also ask someone else to read your draft and give you feedback.

6- Edit and Proofread:

Edit and proofread your final draft. Check for any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or formatting. You can also use a tool like VanillaHeartBookandAuthors to help you improve your writing style and readability. Finally, make sure your narrative meets the requirements of your assignment or purpose.

Ideas for a Personal Narrative

There are many possible topics for a personal narrative, as long as they are meaningful and relevant to you. Some common ideas are:

  • A memorable moment from your childhood, such as your first day of school, a family vacation, or a birthday party.
  • A significant challenge or achievement in your life, such as overcoming a fear, winning a competition, or graduating from college.
  • A life-changing event or decision, such as moving to a new place, changing your career, or getting married.
  • A relationship or encounter with someone who influenced you, such as a friend, a teacher, a mentor, or a stranger.
  • A reflection on a personal value or belief, such as your faith, your philosophy, or your political views.

Examples of a Personal Narrative

To give you some inspiration, here are some excerpts from famous personal narratives:

1- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah:

“I grew up in South Africa during apartheid, which was awkward because I was raised in a mixed family, with me being the mixed one. My mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, is black. My father, Robert, is white. Swiss/German, to be precise, which Swiss/Germans invariably are.”

2- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert:

“I wish Giovanni would kiss me. Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and — like most Italian guys in their twenties — he still lives with his mother.”

3- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai:

“When I was born, people in our village commiserated with my mother and nobody congratulated my father. I arrived at dawn as the last star blinked in the morning sky. Although I was a girl in a patriarchal culture, I was also the first child and my parents had taken a risk.”


why is creating an outline an important step in writing a personal narrative?

Creating an outline is an important step in writing a personal narrative because it helps you organize your ideas, structure your story, and avoid missing or irrelevant details. An outline also makes it easier to revise and edit your draft later.

what is the purpose of a personal narrative?

The purpose of a personal narrative is to share your personal experience, thoughts, and feelings with the readers, and to convey a message or a lesson that you learned from it. A personal narrative can also entertain, inform, or persuade the readers, depending on your goal.

How long should a personal narrative be?

A personal narrative typically ranges from 1 to 5 pages. However, its length ultimately depends on the depth of the story and the writer’s ability to maintain reader engagement.

What is one technique an author can use to create an engaging personal narrative?

One technique for creating an engaging personal narrative is to employ vivid descriptive language, painting a detailed picture of experiences and emotions to captivate readers and immerse them in the story.

How do I generate ideas for a Personal narrative?

Ideas for your narrative can spring from any impactful life event. Reflect on moments that stirred strong emotions or led to significant changes. These can be milestones, challenges, or simple yet memorable experiences.

Can anyone write a Personal narrative?

Absolutely! Writing a Personal narrative is something anyone can do. It involves narrating your own experiences in your own narrative voice. What makes it unique is the personal flavor and perspective you bring to the story, making it exclusively yours.


A personal narrative is a powerful way to tell your story and connect with your audience. By following the steps above, you can write a personal narrative that is captivating, meaningful, and original. Remember, a personal narrative is not just about what happened, but about how you felt, what you learned, and what you want to say.

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