Personal Essay/Op-Ed Writing

, Freelance journalist

Personal essay writing is a form of expression, a means of telling a story, a way of arguing a point, and a therapeutic exercise. It can be any or all of those things, depending on the author's intentions.

In this course, participants will learn about what makes a personal essay successful and interesting to readers, based on sample essays provided in the first meeting. Additionally, the first meeting will include in-class exercises that will prepare participants to work on a personal essay at home. Each participant will draft a personal essay according to the topic of his or her choice and bring it in for a structured critique session in the second meeting. The instructor will also impart advice on working with editors and getting published.

All are welcome in this course, whether you see yourself as a career writer, have an op-ed you want to polish and get published, or seek a creative outlet or hobby.

Anyone can take this course, whether you have some experience writing or none at all. It will benefit beginners as much as it will people who have been writing for awhile. It does help if you have a fairly solid idea of what you want to write about.
  • What Is A Personal Essay?

    My loft in DUMBO

    139 Plymouth Street Apt. 411
    Brooklyn, NY

    In the first meeting, participants will learn about and discuss what a personal essay is and what makes it successful. Examples will be provided of a variety of personal essays, and participants will analyze their merits. In-class exercises will be used to get participants working in the personal essay format right away. Participants will then use those exercises to work on a piece of writing at home, which they will bring in for the following meeting for a critique session.

    Wed, August 8th, 2012

    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

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  • Critique and Workshop

    My loft in DUMBO

    139 Plymouth Street Apt. 411
    Brooklyn, NY

    One week later, this session will mainly focus on participants sharing and critiquing their personal essay drafts in a structured way. Those who feel nervous about reading will be given a little shot of whiskey to help with opening up! The instructor will provide advice on publishing writing in various news and literary outlets, tailored to each participant's interests and ambitions. Writers will leave with a sense of how to improve their work and go about seeking publication.

    Wed, August 15th, 2012

    7:00 pm - 9:15 pm EDT

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Rachel Signer

Freelance journalist

Working as a freelance journalist for the over two years, I have published personal essays in literary magazines and websites such as n+1, Killing the Buddha, Guernica Magazine, and others. Additionally, I am a student myself; currently I'm a Fiction Fellow at the CUNY Writers Institute, and in the past I have taken workshops in personal essay writing with Gotham Writers Workshop, The New School Writing Program, Brooklyn-based poet Montana Ray, and the Sackett Street Workshop. I have also edited an op-ed that was published in the NY Times. Most importantly for participants in my workshop, I know the literary world and which publications are looking for what kinds of writing, and I can even give you names of editors in some cases.

I'm also an experienced teacher; among other educator jobs, I've taught anthropology at the college level in New York City. My website holds my published writing and more information about my book and my background. 

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    My loft in DUMBO

    139 Plymouth Street

    Brooklyn, NY

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