See also:
Essay & Opinion Writing I

Personal Essay Writing

GUIDE TO NONFICTION COURSES
Nonfiction Pathways
Foundation
If you’re not sure what kind of nonfiction to write...
If you know what kind of nonfiction to write...
Or...
If you want a rather short course...
Next Steps
After completing a Level I ten-week course...
After completing Memoir II, if you want to write a book...
Selling Your Work
If you hope to get published somewhere...
Personal Essay Writing

Personal Essay Writing is an Intensive, meaning it happens in a short time span (1 day in NYC, or 2 days on Zoom). The course includes a mixture of lectures and exercises. It’s open to writers of any level. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

What do you think about X or Y or Z? And how have your life experiences informed your views on these topics? That’s the essence of a personal essay: viewpoints filtered through the lens of your personal experience. Any topic goes, from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Unlike the stiff essays you may have written in school, these should feel personal, imbued with your unique voice and observations. Here you’ll learn techniques for crafting personal essays and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write about things major or minor, stimulating or tickling, we’ll show you how to write personal essays that do you proud.

About Personal Essay Writing
Personal Essay Writing

A deep dive into the personal essay with lots of great opportunities for practice.

Sarah Whalen

high school English teacher

Notes

A personal essay is similar to a memoir; both incorporate elements from the writer’s life. But a personal essay focuses more on the viewpoint, and a memoir focuses more on the story. Gotham also offers courses on Memoir Writing and Essay & Opinion Writing, which includes personal essay, among other forms of viewpoint writing.

Upcoming Classes

  • Starts Saturday, January 28
    NYC, 11am – 2pm ET
    1-Day Intensive

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

1-Day

Syllabus

This course gives an overview of the basics of writing personal essays. Course components:
     Brief lectures
     Writing exercises

Topics:
     What is a Personal Essay?
     Finding Topics
     Merging the Personal and Universal 
     Structure
     Voice
     Getting Published

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Janet Flora
Janet Flora

Janet Flora has published nonfiction in Yalabusha Review, Willow Review, Forge, and the Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine. Her short stories have appeared in New Orleans Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Portland Review, and Hawaii Pacific Review. She has taught at NYU and the School of Visual Arts. She holds a BA from City University, Richmond College, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School.

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