Afghan women wait to receive food rations distributed by a humanitarian aid group, in Kabul, Afghanistan, in April 25, 2022. Women were ordered to wear full burqas in public after the Taliban retook control of the country following the 2021 pullout of U.S. troops.

Personal Essays

What to do when you write the kinds of stories you find hard to read

September 20, 2022

A narrative journalist immersed in the tyranny of mass incarceration comes to terms with compassion fatigue, in her life and her writing

Personal Essays

Unlearning old-school lessons from a J-school education

August 11, 2022

An early-career experience taught a journalist that the people she writes about are more than cardboard cut-outs for her stories

Personal Essays

So you want to write a book? Brace yourself for some serious self-promotion and, yes, TikTok

July 13, 2022

First published in the wine-and-dine era, Lauren Kessler now manages a blog, Instagram account, YouTube videos and more to help market her books

Personal Essays

Lessons in good writing from the love of a good dog

April 13, 2022

As a man grieves his dog, he argues that the best writing is as much about the feeling as it is about the words

Personal Essays

When feedback is a drag, and when it’s path forward

March 11, 2022

An aspiring documentary filmmaker let her anxiety over "expert" feedback trip her up until she learned how to trust it — and herself

Personal Essays

Reading fiction through the filter of current events

March 2, 2022

A half-line from Richard Powers' new novel, "Bewilderment," is about his fragile son and the fragile Earth and our fragile democracy

Personal Essays

A journalist’s journey into her family story leads to a history of American pie

November 26, 2021

Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle baked a humble dessert into a big idea

Personal Essays

Two Native American journalists talk turkey about Thanksgiving

November 24, 2021

University of Montana journalist Jason Begay, of the Navajo Nation, talks to Washington Post journalist Dana Hedgpeth, of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, about living with and correcting history

Personal Essays

50 shades of nuance in a polarized world

November 3, 2021

An essayist ponders when to write black-and-white polemics that attract clicks, and when to be more considered

Personal Essays

A retired newspaper man finds a new writing voice in the solitude of wilderness

August 24, 2021

With inspiration from other meditative writers, Chuck Haga meets himself and fellow campers in the Minnesota wilderness

Personal Essays

How a writer’s kaleidoscopic mind learned to still the distractions with haiku

July 29, 2021

A successful stage actor and director searched for the tools he needed to write in his own voice

Personal Essays

The role of editor as story director

July 16, 2021

All the world is, indeed, a stage — and all stories a sequenced (true) play