“Writing is an opportunity to take the emotions we have felt many times and give them light, color, and a story.” – Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones
In this self-paced class, you'll learn to master the essential elements of a memorable personal essay:
Understand the power of narrative structure
Write an essay that captivates both readers and editors
Polish your essay for the right publication
Are you a writer who has wanted to try her hand at writing a personal essay or a short memoir piece but you weren’t sure where to start? Are you a blogger who wants to submit to new places and show different sides of yourself as a writer? Have you always wanted to learn how to write about your personal experiences so that they communicate larger truths and meaning to others? Do you simply want to challenge yourself as a writer and get support and feedback from other writers?
This class has two versions:
In this class, we’ll learn about what makes a personal essay shine. Not just work but dazzle first an editor and then your readers. We’ll learn the elements of good essay writing that make personal stories come alive.
This four-week class will combine self-paced lessons, writing exercises, and readings from published writers. The goal of the class is to help you learn strategies for planning, drafting, organizing, and revising a compelling, meaningful personal essay to submit for publication.
Each week of the class will be focused around a theme.
Unit One: The focus will be on understanding the qualities of a personal essay and on brainstorming ideas for our own essays.
Unit Two: The focus will be on adding specific details, description, and imagery to our writing.
Unit Three: The focus will be on revealing the deeper meaning, or theme, of our essays.
Unit Four: The focus will be on revising our essays.
“Everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write” — Dani Shapiro in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
Jessica Smock is a writer, educator, former teacher and researcher, and mom to a young son and toddler daughter. She lives in Buffalo with her family and earned her doctorate in educational policy and development from Boston University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University. She has taught and developed writing curricula for students in elementary school through graduate school. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
The HerStories Project is a writing and publishing community for women. We have published four essay collections, including My Other Ex: Women's True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends and Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience (She Writes Press). Through our online writing classes, we have taught personal essay writing and blogging classes to writers at all levels.