Writing a personal essay is an act of observation, analysis, and exploration, in which writers draw on their own experiences to tell a larger story. A personal essay has the power to change the hearts and minds of readers by offering a window into a different perspective. However, writing about your own experiences is not easy, as it requires interrogating your own assumptions. In this class, participants will read and discuss a broad range of personal essays, paying special attention to the craft elements that shape compelling stories. Then, using a combination of in-class writing exercises and discussions, participants will apply these craft principles to their own work. Essential to the workshop format, participants will read each other’s work, receiving and offering constructive criticism. Special attention will be paid to the intersection of writing and advocacy, including op-ed writing.