June 14


6 Ways to Write a Personal Story

By Diana Raab

June 14, 2014


by Diana Raab

A personal story can be about an experience you’ve had or a story you want to share about someone else’s experience. You might have a burning need to write about a particular incident and get it off your chest. Whatever your motivation, personal stories do not have to be written only about unusual events. They can be written about ordinary events or experiences that everyone can relate to. The lengths of personal stories vary. They can be as short as a blog or an essay or as long as a book.

What makes a personal story special is how it is written and how the story or experience is relayed to the reader. The best stories are those that are significant, heartfelt, and authentic.

When writing, think about the most interesting aspects of the story to share, and what the reader might be interested in reading. The best stories are often those which are written from a deep place within you. When telling the story, imagine yourself seated across the table from a friend, sharing the story. Try to write and share the details in a way that will make the story resonate with your reader, just as if he has lived the experience alongside you.

When reading a personal story, the reader should feel inspired, uplifted and get the sensation that his or her soul has been touched. The reader should be motivated and entertained, certainly, but most importantly receive an accurate portrait of the story.

A good personal story empowers both the reader and writer, It taps into the inner voice of the writer. Often, personal stories are filled with emotion, drama and vivid images. These are created using all the five senses– seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling and touching.

To make your work really come alive on the page, use descriptive writing to share all the details. This will make the story unique and bring the reader into your mind space. When writing about an emotion, instead of naming it outright, it is better to describe how you feel when experiencing that emotion. You know you’ve been successful when you have elicited emotion in the reader and they have laughed or cried in connection with your story.

There are endless possibilities for selecting personal stories. A good place to start is to write about an experience that happened in your life. Share your personal perspective or reflections about the story.

[box type=”success” ]To help the story resonate with the reader, try to incorporate a universal truth—or something many people can relate to, such as: love conquers all; quitters never win; money doesn’t buy happiness or one thing we can count on his change happens.[/box]

Here are some writing prompts to kick-start your personal story:

1) Write about a time when you were very inspired

2) Write about someone whom you admire and explain why

3) Write about an adventure you once had and will never forget

4) Write about a time when you were inspired by nature

5) Write about an accomplishment you are proud of

6) Write about your first love

About the author

Diana Raab, Ph.D. is a memoirist, poet, blogger, essayist, educator and facilitates workshops in writing for healing and transformation. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology, and a research focus on the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing.

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