Even if someone is hesitant to write because they feel they do not know enough about a subject the personal narrative is always an option. Certainly everyone has a personal experience or their own opinions they could write about a little. It may be difficult to get people to open up, but reading about the actual experiences of someone else may help inspire and give them a good examples from which to start. Often basic writing students feel hesitant about writing because they are afraid to share something that they know is their strong suit.
I found Caleb Corkery's article, "Literacy and Confidence Building in the Writing Classroom," interesting because it combined the subject of using personal writing and confidence issues with students. Some people may say there should not be time spent in a composition class on personal writing, but with very apprehensive writers they need to start somewhere. Usually, basic writing classes are usually a precursor in universities to another first year writing course. However it seems an opportune time to use personal writing to get students off the ground before delving into serious essays and research papers. Corkery makes a good point that "Unavoidably, students must develop their "academic voices" out of the identities they bring with them to college; teachers who focus on the contexts that produce the students' voices gesture invitingly for them to find their place in classroom discourses (48)." This article was very informative because it not only discussed the reasons to and not to have students read and write literary narratives, but also gave brought up composition theory as far back as ancient Greece. Corkery brought up the ancient teacher's belief in use of imitation for students (53-4). It was interesting to see such old theory incorporated.
Literacy narratives are a way to let the students connect with an author and possibly give them ideas on what to write (Corkery 56). Perhaps there is a place for personal writing when teaching composition.
Corkery, Caleb. "Literacy Narratives and Confidence Building in the Writing Classroom."
Journal of Basic Writing. 24.1. (2005): 48-67.