top of page
Log In to Connect With Members
View and follow other members, leave comments & more.

Personal Essay Writing: Getting Started

2 Hours • with Elizabeth Gonzalez James • Beginners / All Levels

  • Starts Aug 31
  • 60 US dollars
  • Online via Zoom

Available spots

Class Description

Everyone has a story to tell, but you might not always know how to tell it. Do you have a personal story from your life that you would love to share with the world? A moment where you had a great epiphany, or experienced a huge triumph or loss? Maybe something funny or inconsequential that happened, but it ended up changing everything. Maybe you just have a burning question from your life and you’d love to write about it to explore some potential answers. In this class, we will look at various techniques for writing personal essays, using true personal stories that work as a jumping-off point to explore larger, universal themes. We will discuss how to take an event from your life, give it a narrative structure, and tie it into larger questions and themes that will make your essay deliver a big emotional punch. You will leave the class with a basic framework of what a personal essay is and how they can be structured, why readers love them, and ideas for how to get started writing your own. We’ll read examples from well-known essayists like Roxane Gay and Joan Didion, and time permitting, we may be able to do a little brainstorming and pre-writing in class. INSTRUCTOR ELIZABETH GONZALEZ JAMES is a screenwriter and author of the novels, Mona at Sea and The Bullet Swallower, as well as the chapbook, Five Conversations About Peter Sellers. She teaches fiction writing at Grub Street. Originally from South Texas, Elizabeth now lives with her family in Massachusetts.

Upcoming Sessions

Cancellation Policy

If you withdraw from a workshop TEN DAYS OR MORE before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop OR a full refund (minus 10%, a transaction fee that is non-refundable and that we would otherwise be charged). If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive a refund minus 20%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We cannot offer credit or any refund. If you are absent on the day of your workshop or miss it for any reason, we are unable to offer any kind of refund or credit. If we have to cancel a class you have paid for, you will receive a full refund, without the service charge deducted. For our full listing of policies, visit www.PioneerValleyWriters.Com, Policies page (under Home). To withdraw and receive a partial refund according to the above, please get in touch with Joy at

Contact Details

bottom of page