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Advanced Revision & Submission Strategies: Personal Essay

10 Tuesdays from 5:30pm-8:30pm, starting April 2nd.
GrubStreet HQ
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Level: Advanced
9 seats max

In this class, we'll dive into the neglected, misunderstood, and underrated skill of revision. Just finished a personal essay you're wildly proud of, but not sure you got the ending right? In love with your musings and own voice, but don't know, exactly, what your story is about? Terrified to cut a pretty sentence, or rearrange a scene, lest the whole essay fall to pieces? This is the class for you. In this course, each writer will submit to workshop at least twice. Your first submission will be a first draft--a beautiful, messy pile of uncut inspiration--and your second will be a revision of that essay, once you've gotten some feedback from the workshop and reflected on how you can improve it. There may be time to also workshop shorter essays, excerpts and exercises. The rest of our time will be dedicated to the discussion and analysis of the other craft elements; reading and discussing a wide range of personal essays; and conversations about the publishing landscape for personal essays. Authors whose work we may look at include Sarah Smarsh, Jo Ann Beard, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Eula Bliss, and others. It is recommended that you have some workshop experience prior to applying for this course.

To apply, please click the red "SEE DIRECTIONS TO APPLY" button in the top right corner of this page. This application will ask you to detail your workshop experience. It will also ask you to upload a 5-10 page writing sample. Please make sure this writing sample is in Microsoft Word, double-spaced, and in 12-point font. For tracking purposes, your name should appear in the file name (e.g. Smith. Story Title.Submission). Decisions will be emailed to applicants approx. 1 week after the deadline. You can also track the status of your application in your Grubstreet profile. Please make sure your application is complete before you finally click "APPLY." If you have any technical difficulties filling out this application, please email You will receive a confirmation email once our system has received your submission.

Important dates:

The application deadline for this class is March 22nd at 11:59pm. Applicants can expect to learn of decisions 1-2 weeks after the deadline. 

The payment deadline for this class is March 25th. 

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.


Laura Kiesel
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Previous Students Say

  • "Diverse Reading Assignments"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "This Kicked My Butt"


  • Writing Homework
  • Reading Homework
  • Revision
  • Workshop
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Craft Lessons


  • Personal Essay

Commitment Level



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