Writing the Short, Publishable Personal Essay: Online

8 weeks online; no live meetings. Class opens October 16th
Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

In short personal essays, a little thing illuminates a bigger thing. These essays typically begin with a "hook," tell a focused narrative of a poignant personal transformation, have a strong “I” voice narrator from the start, and provide the reader with some universal take-away or lesson. In this generative workshop, you'll learn how to write these essays. Each week you’ll examine a variety of short (600 to 1,500 word) personal essays from a variety of publications, such as the Boston Globe Magazine "Connections" column; The New York Times "Modern Love" and "Rites of Passage"; Bon Appetit "Healthyish"; WBUR "Cognoscenti"; Psychology Today "Two Minute Memoir"; experimental examples from literary publications such as Hobart, Notre Dame Magazine, The Sun, Granta, Catapult, Brevity; and other examples from commercial, literary and niche magazines, newspapers, websites and journals.

*NOTE that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink, our online class platform, before 5pm on 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
Ethan Gilsdorf
See Bio

Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Frequent Deadlines"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


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


  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



Need a scholarship?

Learn more