Telling Your Story: Why Your Personal Narrative Matters


Although schools may be veering away from it, learning how to write a personal narrative essay can take you far in life. Learn more in this guest post by Chicago, IL tutor Samantha S...


Students, perhaps you have noticed the recent Common Core State Standard trend to veer away from such writing prompts as “What Did You Do On Summer Vacation?” Though nationwide curriculum currently mandates that best-practice instruction focuses on nonfiction, non-narrative writing, here’s why you should keep penning your stories down.

Your Stories Matter

First and foremost, your stories matter. They matter to you, to your family, and to the world. There is no one who can tell your experiences, your thoughts, and your dreams like you. Though as writers we often devalue our own work (believe me, I do it daily!), what seems mundane to us can be a wildly different perspective to an outsider. Someone wants to read your work! Someone needs to! And you probably need to tell the stories that you have. Be proud of who you are, and what you write.

Writing Begets Writing

Although the likelihood of what you will be writing for school probably involves more formal formats, such as essays, learning how to write personal narratives, as well as daily writing of any form will strengthen all writing skills. Think of your writing practice like an athlete who is training to compete. The more time you devote to pen and paper, or typing on the computer, the stronger a writer you will be when the time comes to turn that graded paper in.

Presenting Yourself is Really Important in Life

Thinking of going to college? Guess what? You’ll probably have to submit an essay, which will be focused on who you are. Thinking of getting a job? Same thing. Employers look for people who can write a snappy resume and a concise cover letter to catch their interest. Life is based on writing skills. Think you’ll get very far if your work emails are loaded with grammatical errors and sloppy writing? Think again. Presenting yourself in written word intelligently opens doors.

Writing is Creative

And hence, writing will hopefully be enjoyable in some shape or form. Writing should be an outlet, and an expression of you. Writing has so many avenues, from slam poetry to blogging, that whatever your personal taste, there is a writing modality to satiate. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing. It will take you great places — real and imagined — in life.

So next time your teacher tells you to “stay on topic” and cite the text, remind yourself that maybe in that English class, at that time, that’s the writing task at hand. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways and times to express what stories you want to share. As writers, we are often told “we are what we write.” Don’t be afraid to own the experiences that have shaped your voice.

SamanthaASamantha S. teaches writing in Chicago, IL. She has her masters in the art of teaching, and a license to teach elementary education. Learn more about Samantha here!



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