Tips From Samatha Duclouz Waltz on Writing Personal Essays for Publication

Ashleigh’s Notes

By Ashleigh Rousselle

2008-2009 NAS Intern

  • Essay anthologies are mostly published by themes. Fit the market to break in.
  • Practice finding your voice, but still fit the needs of the market.
  • Market research is always a good idea. Before submitting ask for writer’s guidelines and get the name of the editor.
  • Working with editors is all about good relations. Be easy to work with.
  • In your writing, be specific, pick a topic, and really zoom in on it.
  • Answering a question, or having a prompt, can help to keep your writing focused on a topic.
  • Start with a hook to capture the reader’s attention and keep it.
  • Know where the story is going. Have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Layer your story. Go back in rewrites and utilize the 5 senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
  • Write something and then let it sit a few days before you review it.
  • Get other people to read your work. Start a writing group if you need one.
  • Keep meticulous records of ideas, and always back up your work.
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