Please note that this is an online workshop conducted via Zoom. Participants will be provided information on how to join the online sessions.
Over the course of this six-week online workshop, we will do a deep dive into studying the personal essay in its myriad forms. For the first three weeks, classes will be devoted to closely reading and examining effective craft strategies we identify in published work. We will also engage in generative exercises designed to develop, and ultimately polish, essays-in-progress. Throughout this process of the explorations we make in our writing, we might ask ourselves how we draw the reader toward certain revelations in our work and experiment with ways these discoveries might be achieved on the page. What, in other words, are some ways that we can write about significant experiences or open the secrets and mysteries that contain us? How might we experiment with surprising ways to enter, exit, and advance the moments that define our stories?
For the final three weeks of our class, our time together will be dedicated to workshopping excerpts from participants’ essays. Writers who are willing to share will be asked to circulate the first five (maximum) pages of their essays among the group in advance of the meeting at which they are scheduled to be workshopped. We will approach our discussions of our work with an eye toward development as well as revision, and with an emphasis on both creating a clear and vivid opening and isolating our essay’s obsessions—ones we might be able to ultimately expand upon in a collection or book. Finally, we will discuss publishing platforms and other ways to market your writing. Writers at any stage in their work are welcome.