Write Your Heart Out: The Craft of the Personal Essay (January 2019)

Course Overview

Write Your Heart Out: The Craft of the Personal Essay (January 2019)
Online Group Seminar
Time Estimate:
The content of this course unfolds over several weeks. There are few scheduled meeting times, except for several live discussions, so you'll be able to learn on a schedule that works for you. The minimum time commitment each week is three to four hours.

Poynter Prepared Members pay just Save 20 percent on this seminar and all training by becoming a Poynter Prepared Member. Learn more and register now.

About Online Group Seminars

In an online group seminar, you will gather with other participants in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.

This archived Online Group Seminar was originally available on:
January 25 to February 22, 2019

Discover powerful stories from your life and tell them in ways that will resonate with others, whether in print or online. You’ll see how to take those experiences from an idea to an essay that an editor wants to publish and the public wants to read.

Live event schedule:

  • Monday, January 28 at noon
  • Monday, February 4 at noon
  • Monday, February 11 at noon
  • Friday, February 22 at noon - Note the day change. This is also a 90 minute session.
What Will I Learn:
  • To cultivate quality story ideas from your life experiences by studying universal story archetypes
  • To shed the shackles of storytelling conventions and insecurity
  • To break down personal essays to their DNA so you can quickly start telling your stories
  • To use the essential tools of effective writing
  • To recognize the types of personal stories editors want to publish
Who should take this course:

Writers, columnists, educators, public speakers -- anyone with a personal story to tell.

Course Instructor:

Keith Woods

Keith Woods is vice president of diversity in news and operations at NPR in Washington, D.C. He previously was dean of faculty at The Poynter Institute and a former sportswriter, news reporter, city editor, editorial writer and columnist at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Technical Requirements:

No special software is needed. However, we strongly recommend you have a high-speed or broadband connection. This course also will require Flash Player 8 or higher. (Get the latest version of Flash here.) For Mac users, we recommend accessing this course with Firefox or Safari 2.x or higher.