Personal Essays

Jumpstart your writing routine: coffee, journals, sketches and postcards

February 4, 2021

A science freelancer works her way out of COVID malaise with morning writing rituals

Personal Essays

How 66 days of shell art helped a retired journalist rediscover her writing voice

January 29, 2021

Retired sports editor Cathy Henkel created a daily countdown to the presidential inauguration in shells and stones, and found herself telling stories

Personal Essays

Journalists on the screen: a conflicted image

December 17, 2020

The pop culture portrayal of reporters in movies and TV mirrors and shapes public perception of the press

Personal Essays

Authenticity and imagery in songwriting, outlaw country style

October 27, 2020

Learning an enduring story language through the music of Jerry Jeff Walker

Personal Essays

The struggle to define cinematic writing

October 6, 2020

Narrative writer, editor and teacher Constance Hale on the elements that make for a true compelling story, with a sampling of writing she loves

Personal Essays

Pitching a new editor: Don’t be too clever

October 1, 2020

A successful freelancer confesses how her "motor mouth" can turn off editors and tank her good ideas

Personal Essays

Rewriting the “hero’s journey” to fit a feminine narrative

August 19, 2020

A writer on a hunt to understand classic story structure ponders politics, movies and her grandmother's life, and searches for a journey of their own

Personal Essays

When the bounds of conventional journalism are too tight

July 31, 2020

In "The Hero of Goodall Park," Tom Junod unraveled a 50-year-old secret — and helped fashion a new ending

Personal Essays

How protest songs echo — and sometimes lead — the stories of our times

July 29, 2020

Neil Young's anti-war anthem "Ohio" was a form of activist journalism

Personal Essays

A displaced writer picks up a camera — and falls back in love with learning

May 19, 2020

After losing his job and his passion, a reporter rediscovers a new creative obsession that leads him back to the old

Personal Essays

Journalism lives at the check-out counter

May 15, 2020

When the door closes on a dream journalism job, an enterprising reporter uses her interviewing skills to engage with customers at the drug-store

Personal Essays

A poet’s distanced farewell to his students is an anthem for the times

May 12, 2020

"... remember this: life is a mystery to be lived; not a problem to be solved."