Discover personal narrative essay, one of the most in-demand and popular genres of nonfiction writing, and learn to tell meaningful stories, sourced from your real life, in ways that honor you and move others.

Have you always wanted to write a personal story…

…but didn’t know where to start?

Writing the Personal is the perfect writing class for you! In 4 weeks, you’ll learn how to write your own personal narrative essay. You don’t need any prior experience—we’ll teach you everything you need to know.

By the end of class, you’ll not only have learned how to write a great personal story, but also understand why this form of storytelling is so important.

You’ll walk away with a rough draft of your own personal narrative story, and quality feedback from our expert instructor.

Class Runs to Date

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Writing the Personal was so supportive that I not only wrote a personal essay (that I was proud of!) but published one for the first time, for the world to see, in just a few weeks.”

— Kathy Lu, Executive Coach


Discover personal narrative essay, a powerful and flexible genre of nonfiction storytelling, and learn how to make it your own, in this 4-week introductory crash course.

Do you want to learn how to write meaningful personal stories, sourced from your real life, in ways that honor you and move others who read them? Then Writing the Personal is for you.

This is a 4-week, live guided writing class from a professional writer, author, and writing teacher, Dave Ursillo, and is designed for creatives, writers, and storytellers of all levels.

Over four weeks, you’ll enjoy (4) live guided creative “salons” (or, 2-hour online classes) and discover the popular nonfiction genre of personal narrative essay. 

In just four weeks, you’ll learn how to use this creative genre of storytelling to write and share moving, meaningful stories—in ways that honor your values and help you connect with others, at home or around the world.

  • Writing and Pre-Writing Practice
  • Class Dialogues and Q+A
  • Creative Exercises and Resources
  • In-Class Lecture
  • Peer Pressure

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what you’ll do

Learn how to write the most personal, resonant stories possible!

Attend Four (4) Live Creative “Salons”

Over four weeks, you’ll come together for a weekly, 2-hour, live online class (or what we like to call, creative “salons”). Here’s a sample class schedule:

— Salon #1: Thursday, 2-4 PM Eastern US Time
— Salon #2: 
Thursday, 2-4 PM Eastern US Time
— Salon #3: 
Thursday, 2-4 PM Eastern US Time
— Salon #4: 
Thursday, 2-4 PM Eastern US Time

Hosted on Zoom, our salons star you and feature interactive exercises, facilitated group dialogues, and mini-writing “sprints” designed to be bite-sized and generative for future writing sessions.

You’ll enjoy (brief!) lectures and practice with accessible lessons on writing, creativity, and self-expression that will stay with you, long after class concludes.


Discover the Genre of Personal Narrative Essay

This crash course will teach you about the genre of personal narrative essay, a dynamic, popular, and in-demand form of personal storytelling today.

Taught by experienced writer, multi-published author, and professional writing coach and teacher, Dave Ursillo, you’ll learn a flexible, accessible, self-honoring approach to this genre—with as few restrictive rules or imposed expectations as possible. This way, your unique voice, perspectives, ideas, and storytelling traditions may shine.

Whether you’re writing observations on life, helping others understand complex social and cultural issues, sharing life lessons, documenting personal growth, or capturing meaningful moments, this class is for you.

Write a Draft of Your Own Personal Narrative Essay

Every student will have the opportunity to write a first draft of their own personal narrative essay, sourced from their own lives, using the techniques and templates from class. In just 4 weeks!

You’ll also have the opportunity to receive supportive, growth-based feedback from their instructor (in a clear, convenient, trackable format). You’ll get notes on what natural qualities of your voice are emerging, how common elements of narrative storytelling emerge, the ways in which you’ve created emotional resonance with readers, and much more.

Don’t stress: past students say the feedback  they receive is honoring, illuminating, and motivating… unlike what you were used to back in school!

real essay samples from past students

Here’s what some recent graduates have written in class—and felt proud enough to publish!

by kathy lu

“there is no one else”

By Danielle Bender

“Becoming a Mom at 43”

by jessica glendinning


Registration is Closed

Get Notified When We Reopen

Class registration is currently closed. Sign up using your email address below, and you’ll be the first to know when the next sessions of Writing the Personal begin.

class schedule overview

Here’s what you’ll do—and when—in our upcoming class session! 


Once your space is reserved, you’ll complete a brief intake questionnaire to help us get to know your needs, struggles, burning questions, and biggest desires for class. You may also (optionally) do some light pre-class work, including watching 3 brief videos and reading 3 short essays on writing, to prepare for class* (~35 mins or less).

*All pre-class work is optional


SAlon #1

Class begins! You’ll meet your classmates and your instructor, Dave Ursillo, in our first of four, two-hour creative “salons,” live on Zoom. You’ll co-create community guidelines with your classmates to shape your class experience, enjoy brief lecture, explore why storytelling matters to you, and participate in open, stimulating discussions and reflections, as we set our creative writing foundations.

salon #2

What is personal narrative essay as a genre, anyway? Are there rules? And how do we write them? In our second, two-hour creative “salon,” you’ll discover what “personal narrative essay” is as a genre, and learn what makes it so flexible for our individual tastes and voices. You’ll read a few selective samples of essays from contemporary writers, and practice your own condensed mini-essay in 5-minute sprints.

Salon #3

How do we structure our stories in the genre of personal narrative essay? Taking the guesswork out of our writing process, our third creative “salon” offers a few, simple, accessible templates and guides to help you develop your stories into essays. You’ll pick one idea and practice writing, alongside our whole class as a group, in a group “write-in” session.

Salon #4

So, you’ve drafted a story as an essay! Yay! But now what? Covering all things editing, revision, sharing, our fourth and final salon explores the “5 stages of writing,” and offers tools, tips, and techniques to improve your writing, editing, and revision processes. Plus, how to know if, and when, you’re ready to share what you’ve written.


For those who want to go deeper, students can optionally purchase an additional, 1-hour coaching session, 1-on-1, on Zoom with instructor Dave Ursillo to receive additional, supportive and constructive feedback on their practice essay, tips, and strategy for developing personalized writing systems, and “Ask Me Anything” Q+A, in a private space.

Every story is worth telling.
Now is the time to start telling yours.

Registration is Closed

Get Notified When We Reopen

Class registration is currently closed. Sign up using your email address below, and you’ll be the first to know when the next sessions of Writing the Personal begin.



Dave Ursillo is a lifelong writer, a multi-published author, and a creative entrepreneur who specializes in helping conscientious creatives, professional helpers, and change-makers live the stories that they want to be telling.

From a brief career in politics in public service, Dave quit his job in 2009 to become a writer and author. In the years that followed, he self-published five books, turned two dozen clients into first-time authors, and led workshops and retreats on four continents.

Today, as a professional life coach, career coach, and writing coach, Dave spends his days supporting clients with book project development, starting (or restarting) meaningful creative practices, and leveraging storytelling to build a business, shift a career, or find a new purpose in their lives.

He blends holistic principles and sustainable, self-honoring storytelling practices from narrative theory alongside cognitive behavioral techniques, mindfulness approaches, and cross-cultural humility.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: What is expected of a student in class (or during our 2-hour "salons")?

A: You’ll be expected to attend our weekly salons (as best you are able!), and participate as an active and attentive student. You’ll be invited to participate in guided round-table discussions and Q+A, practice writing in short intervals during generative creative exercises, and enjoy brief lectures and lessons. Sharing is always optional but encouraged!

Q: What am I expected do in between class sessions? Is there homework?

A: There is no homework in between class sessions! Ideally, though, you’ll be thinking about class, exploring your writing, reflecting on storytelling, or practicing some writing in between sessions. And, you may submit one, rough draft of a personal narrative essay (by/on a provided deadline), which may require some time and work before our fourth and final salon.

Q: I want to write a book or get published in a magazine. WIll you cover that?

A: Writing the Personal is a crash course on a specific nonfiction genre, called personal narrative essay, and does NOT cover book writing or publication in outlets. However, we discuss ethics, intricacies, privacy considerations, and more regarding potentially sharing essays (ie. on your blog, on social media, etc.).

Q: Regarding salons, what happens if I have to come late or leave early?

A: In short, we understand! We encourage students to do their best, within reason, to attend each salon, in full, but we get that that isn’t always possible. Do your best to attend as much as you can. And, letting your instructor know early if you may be late or have to leave early is a courtesy (it helps us appropriately structure classes).

Q: I really want to sign up, but may not be able to make some, or all, of these classes. What do I do?

A: We recommend you sign up and reserve your space, anyway, and do your best to make the most of live classes and call recordings.

Q: Can I register again for Writing the Personal if I've already taken class in the past?

A: All students from Writing the Personal can re-register for a FUTURE run of class (sometimes called a class “cohort”), for just 50% of your previous investment. We know you’re awesome, so you’re always welcome to join us again! Former students, you can register here.


“I am beyond amazed that Writing the Personal brought so much lightness into my creative process. I learned so much about myself and my writing. Courses like these should be a must for anyone who writes!”

— Pavla Loka, Professional Writer

“Ever since class, I’ve been on a natural rhythm of writing something once a month. I also started a newsletter to share stories and updates with family—another personal writing experiment. Writing the Personal really came at the perfect time.”

— Kathy Lu, Executive Coach

still got QUESTIONs?

What did I miss? Email me dave@daveursillo.com or use the form below. I’ll respond as quickly as I can. Thank you for your interest, and for reaching out!