Calling all essay writers and would-be essay writers! I am offering the FINAL SESSION of my long-running classes, Personal Essays that Get Published: Levels 1 and 2, next month. Each 6-week class, conducted via email and open to writers anywhere in the world, starts Weds. Sept. 5 and goes through Oct. 17. All you need is a computer and a desire to write about your life.
Besides practical, get-published lessons, you will get 2 in-depth personal critiques from me, a professional writer for 15+ years who’s published hundreds of articles and essays in national magazines like American Baby, Bride’s, Cooking Light, Health, and Smithsonian, as well as places including Babble.com and “A Cup of Comfort for New Moms.” At the end of class, you will have 2 finished essays, cover letters, and a list of paying markets to send them to.
And guess what? I have LOADS of success stories from my past classes. Students have sold their essays to the New York Times, Runner’s World, Southern Living, Chicken Soup for the Soul, alumni magazines, and regional parenting publications. Most exciting to me are the ones who’ve never been published before. Over and over, students tell me I gave them the confidence and encouragement they needed to take the next step in their writing careers. Read some of their testimonials here.
This is the weird part: I’m thrilled, but not surprised when I hear from at least a couple students in every single class that they sold their essays shortly afterwards. It’s become so commonplace that I expect it. In each class I hand out a list of paying markets where my students and I have sold our essays, for anywhere from $25 to $2,000. The list grows every session.
You may be wondering why I am “retiring” after this next session in Sept., since my students are so successful and I enjoy teaching these classes. I don’t have an easy answer for that. It’s partly because after some good, hard introspection I realized I would rather spend my time writing and publishing than teaching other people how to write and get published.
And it’s partly because I am busier than ever these days despite all those people who claimed I would have LOADS of free time once my kids started school. Are you KIDDING me?! I feel like having a kid in grade school is a full-time job, what with all the homework, volunteer activities, extracurricular events, fundraisers, etc. I honestly don’t know how people with 3 or more kids do it, let alone those who work long hours at an office.
(That’s another thing about my essay classes: they’re tailored for people who are fitting writing into their already busy lives. It IS possible; I’m living proof.)
People are always telling us moms to “just say no,” aren’t they? I don’t know about you, but I have no problem saying no to things I don’t WANT to do, like making 2 dozen gluten-free brownies for the bake sale tomorrow (!!). But I have a harder time turning down things I actually LIKE to do, like teaching my class.
But I am first and foremost a mom and writer. If I’m going to nag anyone to finish their assignments, it’s going to be my kids or myself. I feel certain that I will return to teaching or coaching somehow, at some point. I love nurturing and encouraging fellow writers. But for now, for me, this is it. So if you or anyone you know has an interest in writing and publishing personal essays, I’d love to have you join me in Sept. Here’s where to go for more information, testimonials, and to register.
Prospering from Personal Essays – Can you really make money writing about your life?
Q&A with a Successful Student – Meet writer Rebecca Schorr
How to Make Time to Write – 4 tips for squeezing writing into your busy life
P.S. For any PEGP Level 1 alums reading this, Personal Essays that Get Published: Level 2 — also beginning Sept. 5 — is only open to writers who’ve taken my first class. Level 2 covers issues faced by more advanced essay writers, like finding that elusive “universal truth,” using dialogue in essays, constructing a narrative arc, and dealing with rejection and criticism.