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Introduction to Personal Essay 6-Week Online Workshop with Diana Spechler, Starts Monday, August 12th, 2024
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Introduction to Personal Essay 6-Week Online Workshop with Diana Spechler, Starts Monday, August 12th, 2024

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Begins Monday, August 12th, 2024

Now Enrolling!

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Taught by New York Times Columnist and Novelist Diana Spechler (read two stories in The New York Times Opinion and a cover story in The New York Times Sunday Review). You can also find Diana's work in GQ, Esquire, Harper's, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.

There is no form more timeless, or more timely, than the personal essay. But without guidance, writing narrative about your own life can be daunting. People often worry, Is it really ok to admit to things I'm not supposed to have done or felt? What if my boss reads it? What if my dad reads it? What if I hurt someone's feelings? What if my memory of events doesn't line up with someone else's memory?

This class will explore those questions and others.

You will get weekly writing prompts, a fun community of fellow essayists, and lots of feedback.

You will read great essays and discuss why they work. Most importantly, you will do plenty of essay writing.

By the end of the course, you will have at least one polished essay. This class is for all writers, whether you've hardly written a word or have been writing for years. All you need is an Internet connection.

No prior nonfiction study or workshop experience is required.

NOTE: Diana will provide links to assigned reading material, so you won't need to buy books for this course.


Week 1: What Is A Personal Essay?
Week 2: What Is Truth?
Week 3: Character Development and The Ethics of Writing About Other People
Week 4: Description
Week 5: Structure
Week 6: Breaking Through Writer’s Block


"I just finished my first class, Online Personal Essay with Diana Spechler. I’m happy this introduced me to essays and she was a great instructor. I would take this class again in a heartbeat!" -former student

"This class exceeded my expectations. I felt at ease writing about personal topics and especially enjoyed the community that Diana created." -former student

"This was the most engaging online class I've taken. Diana had the class provide narrative comments as well as mark-ups on our drafts. WOW! I got some really great feedback this way. She also was online commenting on our posts more than I have seen in other classes." -former student

"I just finished Diana Spechler's Introduction to Personal Essay. There was so much for me to learn that I decided to take it again one month later! When I began, I had not thought about writing since high school (a long time ago.) This class was both an introduction and an immersion into a writing style that was deeper and more truthful. Diana's choices of essays for us to read and analyze, her responses to our responses, the prompts she offered, and the sense of community she engendered made the sessions both marvelously difficult and simply engaging. And so useful. I was able to find stories I forgot I had, and language to describe them, and a deeper more honest foray into writing. Now, I need to take some grammar and punctuation classes (thank you Diana) and will be back. I recommend this class highly. Just take it!" -former student

"Diana's workshop was transformative—I've never felt more confident in sharing my personal stories." -former student

"Taking Diana's personal essay workshop was one of the best decisions I've made for my writing journey. The course material was rich and thought-provoking, and the feedback from Diana and my classmates was incredibly helpful. I learned how to navigate the complexities of writing about my own life with honesty and sensitivity. By the end of the six weeks, I had crafted an essay that I felt truly proud of and ready to share with the world." -former student

"I was nervous about writing personal essays, but Diana's guidance and feedback were invaluable. By the end of the course, I had a polished piece I was proud to share." -former student

"Diana Spechler's Introduction to Personal Essay Workshop profoundly impacted my writing. The weekly prompts and readings were both challenging and inspiring, pushing me to dig deeper into my own experiences. I left with not just one polished essay, but a newfound confidence in my ability to tell my story." -former student

"I completed my first Writing Workshops class with Diana Spechler and it was actually my first writing class ever! It changed my view on writing/my writing. Diana was such a positive force for authentically and constructively encouraging the writer in me. I am forever grateful." Angie S.

"This class was incredibly supportive and informative and absolutely exceeded my expectations. The content and exercises were well structured, and Diana's feedback was encouraging but instructive. I found Diana's inline comments so valuable. I also found the topics exploring different themes and conversations surrounding them really helpful." -Kelsie M.

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed my online class through Writing Workshops with Diana Spechler. I was encouraged, challenged and had a blast; and my writing is finally getting the workshopping it needs. Thank you Diana for creating such an incredible experience! Will definitely be taking more classes ASAP!” -Rebecca M.

Diana’s personal essay workshop was a very good experience. It provided some good direction and structure for my writing, and that is exactly what I needed. I may want to repeat the course in the not too distant future in hopes of taking the next step with my personal essay writing.” -Heidi N.

"Diana's Personal Essay class was incredibly supportive and informative. The content and exercises were well structured, and Diana's feedback was encouraging but instructive. I found Diana's inline comments so valuable. I also found the topics exploring different themes and conversations surrounding them really helpful." Kelsie M.


This class is entirely asynchronous which means you complete the weekly assignments on your own schedule. There are no set meeting times in order to allow for greater participation; your cohort will consist of writers from across different time zones, which allows for a wonderful diversity of voices.

Along with your weekly deadlines there is plenty of interaction with Diana and your peers within Wet Ink, our dedicated online classroom. Craft materials, lectures, reading assignments, and writing prompts are all available through the online classroom. Students also post work and provide and receive feedback within the online classroom environment.

You can get the work done as you see fit week-to-week, so it is perfect for any schedule. There are discussion questions each week inspired by the assigned readings and topics in the lecture notes. Students are encouraged to take these wherever is most compelling and/or useful for them. Diana engages with these discussions throughout the week and you will receive feedback from all assigned writing activities.


Wet Ink was built and designed specifically for online writing classes. Wet Ink is private, easy to use, and very interactive. You can learn more about the Wet Ink platform by Watching a Class Demo.

Tuition is $495. You can pay for the course in full  or use Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Diana Spechler

  • Class starts Monday, August 12th, 2024

  • Course is fully ONLINE; students can work according to their own schedule within weekly deadlines. Once you have enrolled the instructor will send you a link to our online classroom, provided via Wet Ink.

  • Tuition is $495.

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.

Instructor Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny and of the New York Times Opinion series Going Off. Her work has appeared in GQ, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Harper's, Esquire, Playboy, National Geographic Traveler, BBC Travel, Washington Post, Ploughshares, and many other publications. She is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including a Hawthornden Castle Residency, a Yaddo Residency, the Steinbeck Fellowship, and the Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation. She is also a seven-time Moth Story Slam winner who has been featured on NPR.