Writing About Midlife

A Two-Week Writing Intensive

  Enroll in Course

April 23-May 5.

In this class, you'll write a first-person personal essay that reveals an important truth about your experience of midlife.

You'll begin the class by brainstorming possible topics with your classmates and the instructor. Then you'll write a first draft, as you examine the most critical elements of an effective personal essay and apply them to your writing. By the end of the class, you'll receive feedback on a draft from the instructor and your classmates, as well as ideas for possible publications to submit your essay.

The course is limited to 15 students.


Midlife is hard. Let's write about it.

This course might be for you if:

You are a midlife woman who has something she wants to say about her experiences.

You are a beginning writer who wants to learn about the qualities of a compelling personal essay.

You want to learn how to polish your personal essays for publication.

You have been writing for a long time but want more practice in digging deeper when you write your stories.

You want to learn and share your writing with a small community of women at the same stage of life.

In this class, we'll focus on:

  • choosing a topic appropriate for the strengths of personal essay writing
  • learning effective strategies for character development
  • discovering and developing the themes in your essay
  • finding a unique voice
  • using scenes to move the narrative in a story
  • revising your essays in an online workshop setting

Course Curriculum

  Day 1: Defining the elements of a personal essay
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 2: Brainstorm topics
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 3: Start with a memorable moment or image
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 4: Scene-building and essay structure
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 5: Revealing theme and character
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 6: Write and revise your opening
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 7: Write and revise your ending
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Day 8: 3 powerful revision techniques
Available in days
days after you enroll

What HerStories Project students have said about other classes:

"The best online course I've had for memoir. In five years of taking writing workshops, Jessica's class was the hands on and specifics I'd been looking for. Classes in the past had too much time spent on feedback for the work of others and not enough time spent on building skills with exercises specific for that part of writing."

"I learned so much from the Personal Essay Writing Bootcamp! I have more tools in my writer's work box, which has also given me greater confidence. I'm inspired to go deeper with my feelings and my writing."

"I love the class! Having never taken an online writing class before I found it to be very quite informative and helpful. I learned a great deal and was able to pull this through into my writing."

"A hands-on, practical and communal course that solidified my appreciation for personal essays and the women who write them."

"Jessica and Stephanie led us through essay writing in small, manageable steps. I found this method really helpful as I am often overwhelmed by the blank page. I have taken many on-line classes and this was one of the few times that I did not overwhelmed and loose track of the process. I had a great experience working with Jessica and the other writers."

"I've taken many writing classes with lots of great teachers but every technique presented in this class was something new for me. The lessons were fresh with lots of very concrete instructions and specific assignments, all of which made me a much better and more focused writer. Thank you!"

Your Instructor

Jessica Smock
Jessica Smock

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!