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Personal Narrative Essay – What It Is and How to Write One

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Writing a story about yourself has never been a walk in the park. There are so many factors to mull over where you eye on writing a remarkable piece. When writing a personal narrative essay, the majority of the people fail to convey the information required and keeping the essay interesting. 

The personal narrative essay must be impactful.

Through this article, you will acknowledge what a personal narrative essay is and how to write one.

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What Is A Personal Narrative Essay?

A personal narrative essay is a story about you. The story must have the introductory part, the body, and an end.

The difference between a personal narrative essay and other essays is that it’s all about you and your life.

There are numerous topics to focus on when writing this essay.

You can choose to focus on areas that make you scared, angry, happy, sensitive, emotional, sad, and even excited.

Through the essay, readers get a chance to connect with you.

Tips For Choosing A Compelling Topic

For you to choose a compelling personal narrative essay, you need to brainstorm on experiences from and about your life.

The brainstormed stories and experiences are to be jotted down for evaluation.

Brainstorming Experiences From Your Life

You have had a bunch of experiences in your life. However, many people experience challenges in identifying an experience from their life that they want to write about.

Therefore, ensure to focus on relevant experiences in your life.

At times, you need to ask yourself about the challenges and obstacles you have faced in life.

Categorize all the experiences depending on how they made you feel.

Evaluate The Brainstormed Ideas

You are entitled to have a long list of experiences of your life and ideas to write about.

Nonetheless, choosing the most compelling essay requires indisputable evaluation.

You need to, therefore, identify experiences and stories that interest you.

It is hard to impress your readers if the story doesn’t appeal to your senses or make you interested.

Consider narrowing the list down. With the narrowed list, ensure to re-narrow it further by eliminating stories without a beginning, body, and end.

The body of your story is what readers consider the climax point. How well do you remember your story?

Some of the stories have an emotional effect. Therefore, you need to understand whether you are ready to share the experience with others.

Stories that make you uncomfortable must be avoided at all costs.

How To Develop Your Essay

There are two ways through which you can develop your narrative essay.

  • Planning
  • Pantsing


Planning the essay entails identifying all the facts that you need to incorporate in the story.

Through planning, your essay gets to follow a predefined systematic sequence.

Therefore, you will need to plot your introductory part or the beginning all through the end.

Planning helps you design an outline for the essay.

Therefore, your outline will focus on how the story started, things that happened, and how the story ends.

You need to consider pinpointing the realizations you have made from the story.


Pantsing is a common word among writers. The method entails having a personal narrative essay topic and narrating the story from the beginning without having prior plans.

Pantsing gives you a chance to write without worrying about a systematic order.

Proofreading is necessitated when done writing the story as you need to evaluate its relevance and flow. 

Make sure all the three parts of the story are well captured.

Tips For Writing A Remarkable Personal Narrative Essay

When writing the essay, you need to enable the reader to share the experience as you had.

You need to consider showing the experience to the readers and never telling them.

There are things that you need to maintain and they include.

  • Dialogue
  • Emotions
  • Capitalize on significant moments
  • Use all the senses


Keep the readers focused by including dialogues in the essay. Character dialogue helps keep the essay or story compelling.


Too much dialogue could cause distortion. 


In pursuit of showing the readers your experience, ensure to maintain an emotional touch.

Therefore, create a connection for the readers by helping them know when scared, happy, worried, and other emotional effects.

Capitalize On Significant Moments

Identify elements that are more important and relevant to the stories; zooming in on these elements makes the story compelling. Also, Additional information must be availed on those significant elements.

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Use All The Senses

There are five senses. Sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing. Your readers need to understand things that you heard, smelled, saw, tasted, and touched.

The personal narrative essay must be appealing to the readers. Therefore, write a sensory story. The language must always be simple, easy to understand and follow. Your experience must be moving, funny, and engaging. 

Below is an example of a personal narrative.

Student’s Name

Professor’s Name



School Lessons that Influenced my Behavior

Have you ever had events and experiences that ever changed your life? Well, for me, there were special events in my school life that changed my life drastically and became life lessons.

These lessons changed my behaviours completely, welcoming me into a new world that I never knew existed. My school life has been of great importance to me, especially in shaping my behaviours.

Following my education achievements, the acquisition of literacy numeracy and scientific knowledge, many things changed in my life. I grew up with no interest in reading books in a family of older siblings who found it easier than it was for me.

As a result of their reading skills, their use of language was perfect, and the command of their grammar was mastery. The use of correct words and good grammar was something that I worked too hard to keep up to their refined selves.

As a result of this, I learnt that the benefits of education open doors to individuals who have a social status that every person is working very hard to possess.

The world is currently revolving around 75% of the bad English language and its misuse. Those individuals with functional English can achieve but not as much as it is for others on 25% of excellence in the use of English words.

The best characters that I have interviewed from around the world say that they were not on one or two occasions they have been aggressive to individuals as a result of how they speak.

I learnt to have good communication through the educational opportunities offered to me. This helped in pushing me towards modifying the background that I come from and the cultural gestures in communication to match with that of the reserved English culture and the calmness shown by English gentlemen.

I have also realized that certain manners and behaviors come either as a result of tertiary education or by associating with highly skilled individuals. This can also be enhanced by dating outside my race.

Being a person who had poor reading skills, my speech behavior is now unrecognizable to many individuals I grew up with.

Being around academicians has molded me into a character that other people admire, although they do not realize the work that is put in shaping mannerisms suiting certain social circles and culture.

Often, I remind myself of the adage, “reading makes a man.” This adage is very true and not confined to some topics and themes, especially when we read the understanding that we have for people, especially from expanded environs.

Through this, we experience some changes in the way that we perceive others. This is based on the influence of new knowledge to an individual. It, therefore, changes our behaviors because our thoughts direct our actions, movements, and decisions.

In my case, education is a much broader spectrum than just reading. The information tutored to students allows them to move around and find jobs getting in a better position where they can interact.

This is the bottom line, after finding a special line of academic progress and vocational opportunities, I had to set my goal on a strong pedestal. That is all education has done for my modification. It has benefited me morally and made integration easier.


What is a narrative essay example?

This is an essay where one tells a story about a particular event

How do you write a good narrative essay?

If you want to write a good narrative essay, be clear, avoid second narrative person, be dynamic with the word choice and limit the references.

What does a narrative essay look like?

A narrative essay should make the reader get all the five senses when reading your story.

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