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Write Your Heart Out: The Craft of the Personal Essay (January 2018)

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

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.

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.

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

Course Staff

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.

His professional writing won statewide and national awards, including the 1994 National Headliner award he shared with Times-Picayune colleagues for the 1993 series “Together Apart/The Myth of Race.” Woods co-authored the 2006 book "The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity."

He is a board member of the Florida Society of News Editors and has chaired two Pulitzer Prize juries.