Writing the Short, Publishable Personal Essay: Online

6 weeks online; no live meetings. Portal opens June 19th
Online (WetInk)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

In this workshop, each week you’ll examine a variety of short (600 to1,500 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"; The Rumpus, Tin House, Vice.com; The Sun; Catapult; McSweeney's; Brevity; and other examples from commercial, literary and niche magazines, newspapers, websites and literary journals. Readings, discussion and video lectures will provide insight into the craft, form and structure elements that make up these essays. Weekly assignments over our 6 weeks together will include writing 3 short personal essays (or 2 original essays plus one revised essay), each modeled after published essays you'll be discussing, as well as completing shorter exercises, will let you immediately put into practice what you observe. Your fellow students and the instructor will offer feedback on these assignments. We’ll also cover the nuts and bolts for submitting your work to publications. By the end of the workshop, students will understand and test of the range of forms, voices and styles of the personal essay, and be prepared to submit them for publication.

*NOTE: this class will be on break from July 1st-12th. Students will have a longer essay to work on during this time, and the portal will still be open and available for discussion. Also please note that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments and deadlines will be given by your instructor. 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.


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Ethan Gilsdorf
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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



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