Personal Narrative Writing Prompts


When you are asked to draw a picture, the first thing you ask is “what should I draw?” When you don’t get instructions and are given free reigns over your tools, the biggest complication comes into the frame when you are brainstorming to decide what exactly you want to recreate on the paper.

It’s good when you are given carte blanche, you won’t be criticized for what you have done and how you have done it. The handcuffs from your hands can transform into a ball and chain on your neck! Sometimes inspiration is leaving you for good, and you need to get a directive from the above to break the ice and move from the dead point. We’ve all been there!

That’s why writing prompts exist – they give you a topical course, a time-proven template to throw some thoughts and stories on. It’s better to write about the event that “made us appreciate hard workers” than to straight up answer the “who are you?” question.

Using Writing Prompts

Prompt is a thing that pushes the writer to a potential topic, but in itself can’t be perceived as a theme of the essay. Usually prompts come in forms of questions that bring up some of your memories, past experiences.

They give us a stratum to work with, a material for us to handle, but don’t force us to concentrate on any particular event or subject. The beauty of the prompt lays in its ability to open up a locked mind, set ideas free and the ability to give you a proposition to discuss.

When it comes to personal narrative essays, you are asked to write about your life from a perspective you have. It can be tough to open up about yourself, not all of us can talk about ourselves for hours. Prompts come in handy here, they pick a section for us and ease up the self-evaluating process greatly! Focus does the trick, the borders of our thematical coverage are not as blurry because of it.

Personal Narrative Essay Specifics

Now that we understand what prompts were created for, we can move on to discussing a personal narrative essay gimmick. What’s so special about it? Well, this is arguably the easiest essay to write, as you don’t have to be knowledgeable or learned about a complicated topic to engage the readers in your writing. This essay type gives you a venue to open up more on your life and tell a story that would present you in a different light.

If we are choosing between talking about ourselves and writing about ourselves, the second option is preferable because it gives us more time. More time for remembering a special event or deciding on the overall essence of the essay! To tell a great story you have to give it enough time, and in the normal setting it’s not always possible. The details of your narrative will look and feel more organic on paper too. It’s the ideal platform for you to reveal the unknown sides of your personality!

Prompts for Narrative Personal Essay Writing

We are in the clear about the functions of both personal essays and prompts! What is left for us is only to present you with enough ideas that could push you in the right direction, because that’s what those little helpers do – they drive us to the actual writing, saving our time and brain energy. We need both for later! Prompts can be compared to bread slices that help you to pick up pieces of food with a spoon or a fork. Instead of rolling a slice on the plate we can quickly pick it up or shove it somewhere else. Enough with the comparisons, it’s high time to look a the examples and kick off the creative process.

1) Brightest Childhood Memory 

We’ve all been kids, possibly we still are. We all have amazing childhood stories that can get a great reaction from the reading crowd, we only should dig deeper to bring them up. No matter how active or passive an individual is, there’s no way nothing interesting occurred during the forming years. It’s just impossible to explore this world without fun accidents or confusing situations!

2) Best Life Advice You Ever Got 

Chances are you received plenty of lousy hints and tips in your life too, but why not concentrate on those you look back on every day of your life? Some guidance from the most influential people around you shouldn’t be left over on the sidelines, talk about a personal story that made you smarter!

3) What’s Your Proudest Achievement? 

Once again, if we lived long enough to start writing academical essays, then we managed to do something good in our short lives. Your greatest achievement is without a shadow of a doubt tied up to some kind of journey, the struggle and the development of character. You can brag a little if you want, but don’t get too arrogant.

4) Who’s Your Role Model? 

Most of us also have some kind of an inspiration in the form of a human being that drives us forward in some way. They don’t necessarily have to be a part of our life, after all a lot of our idols become such figures because there’s something special about them, and the aura is created with the help of a distance. Write about how you first saw your “hero” and what exactly that individual did to gain your fandom.

5) How Helpful Are You At Home? 

Another great prompt that can enable you to share about your everyday life, as you don’t always need to look back ten years back. If you manage the prompt correctly, you will appear as hard-working, caring and responsible in the eyes of your peers. Be honest and pick a direction that won’t bore out the listeners.

6) How Would Your Ideal Day Go? 

A great direction to choose, this will give you an opportunity to use imagination and underline the things that matter the most to you in life. Let’s be fair, not one sane person would spend their ideal day in school or university, which is a tongue-in-cheek approach that can get laughter out of your audience.

7) Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years? 

An annoying job interview question, you will be used to hearing it a bit later into your life. Why not prepare the answer for the interviewee ahead of time and polish your answer before you get to the jobcentre? On a more serious note, your future deserves some attention and there’s nobody more interested in it being bright than a good teacher and you – the student.

8) What Makes You Wake Up In Cold Sweat? 

This prompt can set up a fascinating story that can really resonate in the classroom. The possibility for details, the depth of the narrative topic is off the charts, and you need to capitalize on this before anyone else will have a chance to!

9) Where Would You Love to Come Back? 

Ever visited a place and loved it so much you wanted to stay there forever? Now you have a chance to write about that in details and express how much you would like to travel back in time. You will surely get a thumbs up if the place is popular or if you persuade the reader that it’s pretty much heaven on Earth.

10) What Moment Would You Like to Relieve Again? 

Closely tied to the topic mentioned above, it’s a great prompt that will force you to reminisce about the happiest hour of your entire existence. Such an event is likely to wake up the emotions in you that will translate to the paper without many complications!

11) What’s The Scariest Movie You’ve Ever Seen? 

If you are not into horrors then you definitely saw something disturbing before and you can share about that unfortunate experience in your essay and get a moral compensation in the form of a good grade!

12) What’s Your Favorite Book? 

If we made it to the university – we can read, and if we can read, then we have a book that we liked more than others. Describe your feelings when you finished the book, talk about how sad it was to put it away, possibly you even read it once or twice more?

13) Are You Addicted to Anything? 

Who are we kidding, every person has some sort of addiction, some of us are just not that honest with ourselves to admit that something is out there forcing us to try again and again. This will be a great way to relieve the pressure off your system and share feelings with the caring circle.

14) What’s Danger To You? 

Human life is somewhat fragile and taking risks takes a lot of guts. If you have a story to share with others that would underline how bold and brave you are, you can easily use it to teach others a valuable lesson and create an emotional connection.

15) The Most Embarrassing Moment of Your Life 

Not as ego boosting, but very interesting to the audience! It can be a fun story that will make you look sympathetic if the story is laid out perfectly. You will probably blush a little, but you surely won’t run out of the stories to shed light on.

16) What Is Your Guilty Pleasure? 

We all have things we like but are shy or embarrassed to talk about. In the personal essay we can easily explain what exactly we like about a specific thing and why it is misunderstood by the public, share our opinions and persuade others to change their perception.

17) What Is Your Biggest Regret? 

Another prompt that can scratch the surface of a topic that doesn’t let you sleep well at night. Sharing your “what if” scenarios can motivate someone to take actions in their situations. You not only get a vast field for discussion but also can help others!

18) What Is Your Favorite Holiday? 

Having free days when you can do anything your soul wishes is great, and among those special dates, you might have a personal favorite. Explain why you like a certain reason for celebrations more than others and tell stories that are related to it! Christmas or Easter stories, doesn’t matter, they just have to be good.

19) Best School Memory 

Mostly we pupils don’t like to attend school every day because the routine is dreadful and having studying responsibilities is not fun. Let’s not forget that school is not only exams, strict professors and early calls of the alarm clock. It’s also the bonds you share with classmates. If you write a personal essay in school then it’s a no-brainer, you will get plenty of stories to tell!

20) Who Is The Most Popular Person You Have Met? 

A tale about bumping into some celebrity is a good prompt that gives you the opportunity to brag a little and write about the person of stardom that can captivate the attention of the reader. If you didn’t meet any personality of that magnitude, then it’s more than okay to talk about who you would like to meet and why.

Final Words

Twenty prompt examples are enough for you to get the main idea and trip down the memory lane, look back on some of the events you lived through. Our life is a big story in itself, it only makes sense for us to narrate it! We have the best things waiting for us in the future, but it doesn’t mean that the memories of the past have to be erased or that the present time must stall. As Lao Tzu once told us: “Depression is for those who live in the past, anxiety for those who live in the future, and the peace is for those who live in the present!” Think about what you will write about now and don’t concentrate on the final result as much! Best of luck to you and your essay!