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Amber Paulen

Tips for Writing Personal Essays

Last week I was lucky to attend Paula Derrow’s talk at John Cabot about writing the personal essay. Paula is a writer and editor with lots of experience under her belt. She started off by saying that personal essays might be the best way to get your writing published, as there are lots of places that accept such things and even pay for them. Personal essays are also good to start off with because you don’t need to know much beyond your own experience (though, I think, adding in layers of fact adds depth to any essay or piece of writing). Paula preempted her talk by saying these tips might seem rather obvious, but she’s always surprised by the number of writers who do not follow them.

The tips (in no particular order)

I found these tips really helpful when writing my last piece for The American about Fez, Morocco. Bonus: couple them with these tips for creativity by John Cleese to get you in the writing mood.


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