Writing the Personal Essay

  • Thursdays, Noon-2, Begins March 22
  • Lilly Dancyger
  • Seven weeks, $350

Learn how to tell your life stories in a way that engages readers and illustrates universal truths.

In this workshop we’ll cover the basic tenets of personal essay writing, read some of the best first-person writing being published today, and produce polished essays that are ready to publish. No navel-gazing hyper-confessional fluff, we’ll dig deeper to find the most meaningful stories each student has to tell, and the best way to tell them. We’ll also cover the basics of pitching and publishing, and each student will get suggestions for outlets to pitch their work, and advice on how to do so.

Students do not need to come in with a specific idea, just a willingness to push themselves, and to get into their most important stories, which are sometimes the ones that are the least comfortable to talk about.

Instructor Lilly Dancyger is the deputy editor of Narratively, where she oversees the memoir section. Her first book, Hunted: A Memoir of Art and Addiction is forthcoming from Shanti Arts Press, summer 2018. Her personal essays have appeared in Psychology TodayThe Washington PostThe Guardian and more. She teaches memoir and personal-essay writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and Catapult, in addition to the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio. Her students have published work in publications including Rolling Stone and Longreads. Learn more about her at LillyDancyger.com. Follow her on Twitter here.

3 Comments On “Writing the Personal Essay”

  1. Hi. Thank you for responding. Unfortunately I don’t know any. Lol. I have an interest of learning to write my personal story, memoir. I work full time so the time is not feasible. Do you know of other studios or avenues that may be a better alternative?

  2. Hi. Any chance of offering this course in the evening or weekend?

    • We hear you, Cathy. Each time we’ve offered a workshop over a series of evenings or weekends we haven’t been able to fill it. We keep trying, though. Gather a bunch of writer friends together and tell us the time that works for you and we’ll make it happen! CD

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