Writing The Personal Essay: Your Guide to Getting it Right

Writing The Personal Essay: Your Guide to Getting it Right

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Personal essays are appealing first-person stories found in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, and collections. They’re true stories told by people willing to share their intimate thoughts and feelings about life. Topics include travel, parenting, grief, nature, nostalgia, recovery, and more. They’re incredibly popular with loads of publishing opportunities, but crafting a sellable personal essay requires a complete understanding of the category.

Windy Lynn Harris has helped hundreds of writers find success writing personal essays. A personal essay isn’t simply an anecdote but an in-depth exploration of a subject. Writing the truth is important, but great storytelling holds equal weight. Well-written essays harness cadence, individuality, a narrative arc, and creativity. In this session, Windy will share the essential components required to deliver a meaningful true story so you can craft your personal essays with confidence.


  • The definition of a personal essay
  • Personal essay essentials
  • The two stories you tell: inside and outside
  • The structure of personal essays
  • Which ideas make great personal essays
  • How to deliver an emotional experience on the page
  • When the term Creative Nonfiction applies to your essay
  • How to write a successful first draft
  • How to use theme as a revision tool
  • Windy’s top ten tips for getting it right


  • Writers who want to explore first-person writing
  • Writers who aren’t sure what makes an essay an essay
  • Writers who want to write something publishable this year
  • Writers who want to become more proficient essayists
  • Writers who want to understand the CNF category
  • Memoir writers
  • Bloggers
  • Writers interested in self-exploration
  • Writers of any skill level or experience

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