Writing the Personal Essay


Learn the basics of the personal essay form, generate ideas for essay topics, and complete at least one solid draft in this intensive workshop.

Hybrid (Remote)
Starting at $788.00
As few as 4 days

What you can learn.

  • Generate ideas for powerful essays based on your lived experiences
  • Read masterworks in the personal essay genre to learn the best techniques
  • Complete writing exercises designed to be jumping off points for new essays
  • Read and critique the work of other writers in class

About this course:

The personal essay inspires both readers and writers to discover new perspectives for looking at the world, understanding their own lives, and discovering meaning in even those moments that without pondering might seem unimportant. It is also among the most marketable of genres. In this four-day course, you engage in writing exercises, small group work, readings of master essayists, workshopping, and studying marketing techniques; in the process, you unearth new story ideas, create messy first drafts, and learn the art and joy of rewriting as well as the pains and pleasures of publication. By the end of our four days together, you will have crafted one 500-to-2,000-word personal essay, as well as planted and begun to develop seeds for many future essays. Suitable for both new and experienced writers.

About the Writers Studio

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This course is part of the 2021 Writers Studio: Home Edition.

Offered by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the Writers Studio brings together a community of writing students to workshop with some of Southern California’s most accomplished writers and teachers. Harness your creativity, hone your skills, and develop your story with four days of instruction and writing in a supportive environment.

In light of the ongoing and unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic, the Writers’ Program has moved its signature 4-day intensive workshop series to a fully online environment.

Instruction will be conducted with a combination of Zoom-based meetings, offline independent work time, small group activities, and other approaches to learning. The conference also features daily guest speakers and a keynote presentation by an industry professional of note.

Learn more and see all workshops


Winter 2022 Schedule

Date & Time
Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10:00AM - 6:00PM PT
See Details
Instructor: Amy Friedman
Hybrid (Remote)format icon
Location: Remote Classroom
ENROLL BY: Feb 24, 2022
See Details

Enrollment limited to 15 students. Visitors not permitted. $150 nonrefundable. Internet access required.

This a hybrid (Remote) format course which combines asynchronous online instruction with semi-regular, required live meetings held on Zoom. Please see the course syllabus for specifics. Students must be present at course meeting times as each student’s final grade may include scores for participation. 

Refund Deadline
No refunds after January 24, 2022
Course Requirements
Internet access required to retrieve course materials.
Thu Feb 24, 2022
10:00AM PT - 6:00PM PT
Remote Classroom
Fri Feb 25, 2022
10:00AM PT - 6:00PM PT
Remote Classroom
Sat Feb 26, 2022
10:00AM PT - 6:00PM PT
Remote Classroom
Sun Feb 27, 2022
10:00AM PT - 6:00PM PT
Remote Classroom

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
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