Writing Personal Experience Stories That Everyone Will Read
And Why Those Stories Should Not Be About You
People love to write about their own experiences. Journals, personal essays, memoirs and even poetry are popular because they emerge from the writer’s life, and therefore, seem easier to write. This isn’t always true, but it is true that we have more content to pull from if we are writing what we know.
Whether it’s a blog or another type of article, adding personal stories and experiences enhance our writing. But journal-like stories, or all about me stories are not as appealing, and in my opinion, should be avoided unless the writer is a personality who has a following and readers are interested in the person’s personal life.
Instead for those of us who are bloggers or for memoir writers, the best way to write personal stories is to think about our blogs, articles, and memoir as not being about us at all, but about the reader.
Ah yes, it’s always about the reader. We know that. Right?
But sometimes I get the impression that people who tell a personal story about themselves forget this.
Your personal story should somehow help your reader understand their own life better, improve themselves, learn a new skill or learn how not to do something. Your story should make them think about how your story relates to their experience.
I remember reading a personal experience that actor Rob Lowe wrote when his son went away to college. Oh my God! I cried through that whole piece. Why? Because it was well written and emotional, sure, but mostly because my own son was going away to college, and I could relate to every feeling and emotion Lowe was having. He was feeling and saying the words I was thinking. Here it is, if you’d like to read it, but have some tissues nearby.
So remember, your story is not only your story. It’s your reader’s story.
Which Experiences to Share
Although readers might be capable of connecting to any story, there are some experiences that are more likely to be hits with readers.