Memoir and Personal Narrative Writing Prompts
Memoir and personal narrative writing offers much opportunity for writers to reflect, document, and ponder. While not all writers connect with traditional writing assignments, memoir and personal narrative can ease some of the challenges of writing. After all, this type of writing is based on lived experience! Whether shared or kept private, these prompts will help writers explore the value and practice of penning one’s thoughts. Use the categories of “Inspiration,” “Teamwork,” “Leadership,” “Sadness,” “Inclusivity,” and “First Tries and First Times” to embrace the magic of writing. Writers are encouraged to plan and review their work. Keep in mind that some prompts may demand contextualization depending on the learner’s background and needs.
Memoir and Personal Narrative Writing Prompts
Category 1: Inspiration
As we grow, it is important to consider who and what inspires us, as inspiration sometimes comes from unexpected places. Writers can use these prompts to ponder their personal inspirations and write about them via different forms of memoir.
- Draw a picture of someone who inspires you and explain why. When someone inspires you, they motivate you to do something.
- Write a story about what it means to be an inspiration to others. Reflect on yourself. What makes you a good role model for others?
- Make a poster of your favorite inspirational quotes to put on your desk, in your backpack cubby, or at home. Choose a quote that makes you feel happy and uplifted.
- Create a script for a short, one-person podcast about how people can find inspiration or stay motivated when they don’t feel like being persistent.
- Research an oft-cited source of inspiration for people. Who does society revere and look up to and why? Your options are endless— really consider this!
- Write a personal narrative about someone or something that inspires you. Why do you feel motivated to act, advocate, or pursue with passion?
Category 2: Teamwork
What are the value and benefits of teamwork? Whether a leader or a contributor, it’s important to reflect on successes and challenges related to collaboration. Writers can use these prompts to ponder teamwork and write about them via different forms of memoir.
- Create a poster for your classroom that explains the value of teamwork. Include a list of benefits and two strategies for what to do and say when you and your team disagree.
- Reflect on what it means to work as a team. Draw a picture of you and your friends in the classroom and outside at recess. How do you use teamwork in both places?
- Write a story about a time when you helped someone do something. How did it make you feel?
- Create a pamphlet for a class that involves a lot of teamwork. On each part of the pamphlet, explain what students can expect and how they can contribute to an environment that requires so much teamwork.
- Design a social media post about the importance of teamwork in an emergency situation. How can strangers work together to successfully escape or handle an emergency?
- Write a persuasive essay about whether or not group projects are meaningful. Explain your rationale and use examples.
Category 3: Leadership
It is important to consider the value and benefits of leadership and how we can cultivate our own bold or quiet leadership style. It’s important to reflect on successes and challenges related to being a leader, innovator, manager, or coordinator. Writers can use these narrative writing prompts to ponder leadership and write about them via different forms of memoir.
- Draw a comic strip that shows how people show leadership in your classroom.
- Make a poster of different leadership qualities or traits and how you can use them to lead others.
- Write a short story about why a teacher is a leader.
- Conduct an interview and write a report about someone who you feel is a strong leader. During the interview, ask them about what they like about leading and what they find challenging. Ask them to reflect on their early experiences with leadership. What was it like?
- Write a letter to your future self. In your letter, explain what you’ll expect from your older self in terms of leadership. As an adult, how will you be a leader? How will you be your own best advocate?
- Write a reflective essay about leaders you’ve encountered in your life. Write, without naming names, about leaders who’ve been great and leaders who need improvement.
Category 4: Sadness
As we grow, it is important to be in touch with our emotions– both good and bad. It’s important to reflect on sadness or emotions that are difficult. Writers can use these prompts to ponder these emotions and write about them via different forms of memoir.
- Write a short diary entry about how you overcome feelings or worry, sadness, or fear.
- Make a small classroom poster of different ways to manage feelings of sadness. Include important school-based resources that all of your classmates can use.
- Draw a picture of a time when you felt sad. Explain what made your sadness go away.
- Create a social media post about ways to talk to a friend who may seem sad or depressed. What can you say and do to help them?
- Design an infographic called: “Where does depression come from?’ Include important information that can dispel myths.
- Write about an informative piece about how people your age can cope with depression and sadness.
Category 5: Inclusivity
As we grow, it is important to recognize our emotions and the emotions’ of others. This is called empathy and it can help our world to be a more equitable and inclusive place. Writers can use these narrative prompts to ponder paths to inclusivity and write about them via different forms of memoir.
- Create an infographic or poster about ways to welcome a new member to your classroom community. What are some simple things you can do?
- Interview a friend about a challenge they have. Brainstorm a solution together.
- Write about a time when someone helped you feel more included. Why was this memorable to you?
- Write a letter to your teacher or principal about ways that you feel the school could be even more inclusive. In your letter, also identify specific steps you are willing to take to help make the school a more inclusive place.
- Write a journal entry about a time when you experienced exclusion and how it made you feel and think. What was your impression of the people or place that caused these feelings?
- Interview your classmates on the topic of culture. What cultural traditions do they celebrate? If they prefer not to share, ask them about what they know about other cultures.
Category 6: First Tries and First Times
Growing up brings many opportunities for first tries and first times. Both inside and outside of school, we exercise bravery and daring when we try something for the first time. Writers can use these prompts to ponder small and great risks via different forms of memoir.
- Write about a time when you had to learn to do something that was so hard. What made it so challenging?
- Draw a picture of a time when you tried something new for the first time. Be sure to share with your classmates. Listen to everyone else’s “first tries,” with interest and patience.
- Create a classroom poster about three things everyone should try! Title your poster: “Just TRY it!”
- Write and illustrate a new, 21st-century children’s book about why trying new things is important.
- Write an essay on risk. What does it mean to take a risk? What is a healthy risk vs. an unhealthy risk?
- Write a reflection about a significant, first time experience and how it impacted you. Use rich detail and language to explore this moment.