Writing the Personal Essay: A Weekend Workshop
"Personal Essay" is a broad term that encompasses both serious and humorous essays, opinion pieces, and first person articles, but which always details the writer's journey through a specific experience. This workshop teaches aspiring personal essayists how to be a compelling first-person narrator and employ craft elements such as theme, character development, voice, pacing, scene-setting, and exposition to tell their stories. The goal is to complete at least 1 personal essay (500-1,500 words) and develop material for future essays.
Here's the thing about writing personal essays: they never ever stop being a challenge. I'm writing one of my own now for an anthology and last week I was so stuck I thought my head would blow off. I went around the house moaning and boring everyone to death with my little speeches about how hard writing is. But I kept writing, I kept at that essay until I broke it down and figured out what it was about. Finally. And the thrill of that, figuring out what you're writing about and how to do it, never ceases to be exciting and astonishing.
How to Write a Personal Essay with a Focus on Readers
Want to know all there is to know about writing personal essays?
(or watch the two-minute video below) to read up on my new online video course that shares everything I learned during my 20 years of writing personal essays and having them published across the world in books, magazines and newspapers.
Many college admissions boards ask prospective students to write a personal essay as part of their general application process. Scholarship, internship and contest committees also often request them. Reviewers use them not only to get a general sense of a writer’s history and philosophies, but also to analyze whether he is educated, creative or experienced enough to stand out from other applicants.Writing a personal narrative essay requires a lot of intellectual thinking from the applicant, as his goal is to persuade the committee that he is their most appealing variant. Before beginning the creation of a personal essay it is necessary to point out its base lines.