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  • Seminar
  • In-Person: Seaport
  • Adult (18+)

Getting Started in Personal Essay Writing

No Longer Enrolling

  • $85.00 Non-Member
  • $75.00 Member

Class Description

Everyone has a story to tell, but you might not always know how to tell it.

Do you have a personal story from your life that you would love to share with the world? A moment where you had a great epiphany, or experienced a huge triumph or loss? Maybe something funny or inconsequential that happened, but it ended up changing everything. Maybe you just have a burning question from your life and you’d love to write about it to explore some potential answers.

In this class, we will look at various techniques for writing personal essays, using true personal stories that work as a jumping-off point to explore larger, universal themes. We will discuss how to take an event from your life, give it a narrative structure, and tie it into larger questions and themes that will make your essay deliver a big emotional punch. You will leave the class with a basic framework of what a personal essay is and how they can be structured, why readers love them, and ideas for how to get started writing your own. We’ll read examples from well-known essayists like Roxane Gay, David Sedaris, and others, and time permitting, we may be able to do a little brainstorming and pre-writing in class.

Scholarships Format/Location

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

This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.


Covid-19 Update:

GrubStreet's space will be mask-optional when Boston's Covid-19 Community Level is low or medium. When the Covid-19 Community Level is high, our space will require masks. Please check GrubStreet's Covid-19 page for the latest info on masking and Community Levels before visiting in person.


Space Accessibility:

Our space is ADA accessible with automatic door openers, ADA-compliant restrooms, desk and table spacing, braille signage, and elevator. Our classrooms can be equipped with ALS for hard of hearing individuals. We cannot guarantee a scent-free environment. For more accessibility requests, please contact our Operations team at [email protected] or (617) 695-0075.