Just Write

Three Top Pointers About Writing Personal Essays by Kelly Caldwell

From December 2013 issue of The Writer magazine. “In the Classroom” with Kelly Caldwell.

1. Don’t worry about What is My Larger Subject? in your first draft. Just get out of your own way, write the story and let the universal themes of the essay reveal themselves.

2. When you’ve got that first draft, ask yourself, “So what?” and write down the answer.

3. When you reach a point in the essay where you want to make things up because they would be more interesting or more satisfying or just prettier, don’t. This is creative NONfiction, after all, and yes, that matters. Also, those are usually places where you need to dig deeper, because that’s where the richer, more meaningful material usually lies.




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