Beginning to End: Building the Personal Essay (Online)

6 weeks online; NO LIVE MEETINGS. Class opens September 8th.
Online (WetInk)
See Map
Level: Introductory
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 1 spot left!

Finally ready to write that essay you've been thinking about for years? You've come to the right place. In this workshop, you will complete the first draft of an essay through a series of guided prompts and peer encouragement. Unlike traditional workshops, writers will not be sharing completed drafts until the end, and throughout the course will have opportunities to share portions of their drafts-in-progress in order to receive encouraging feedback from classmates. Over six weeks, we will work together to turn one of your ideas into a full narrative, take inspiration from relevant published work by writers like Andre Aciman, Claire Messud, James Baldwin, and Adrienne Rich, and support one another to push through to a full draft.

Each week, we will go over a new aspect of the personal essay, like the challenges of the first person perspective, managing time and memory, and exploring different essay forms. During the first four weeks, students can choose to share portions of their essay-in-progress for feedback, to help push them toward the final goal of completing a draft. In the last two weeks, students will share their completed first draft and receive feedback from the instructor and classmates. You will leave the class with a completed essay draft and next steps for further revisions.

This course is best suited for writers who have a command of the basic elements of creative nonfiction and have taken at least one workshop.

*Note that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments will be given on a weekly basis. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

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.

  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -


grubstreet Image
Shuchi Saraswat
See Bio

Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Great for Newbies"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Very Well-Organized"


  • Generate New Work
  • Craft Lessons
  • Class Discussion
  • Writing Homework


  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



Need a scholarship?

Learn more