I’m Judging the Writer’s Digest Personal Essay Contest

If you want to write your story, there is no better time than now! I invite all my students and writing colleagues to submit their stories to the Writer’s Digest Personal Essay Contest. The early bird deadline is fast approaching on September 1st, but the deadline for all is September 30th. What are you waiting for? Get to it. Oh, and I am so delighted to be named the special guest judge for this contest. I was an early judge last year and read over 400 submissions. This year I will be reading the top 30 essays. Here are the guidelines and more information. Remember, your personal essays must be original and never published, although Writer’s Digest will consider work from your blog or social media posts. Take a look and enter, and don’t forget I teach Personal Essay writing for Writer’s Digest University. 

I recently spoke on pitching and personal essays at the fabulous Writer’s Digest conference in New York City. It was a fantastic event with top authors and essayists in attendance. I especially liked editor Amy Jone’s interview with author and keynoter, Marlon James.

Here is an Estelle’s Edge for you (my pro tips) for writing personal essays. This one is from my “All About the Pitch” column in every print issue of Writer’s Digest. My Estelle’s Edge: Make sure you have a narrative arc to your essay (a beginning, middle and end). Something needs to happen that changes you and transforms you in some way by the end of the piece. That is how it will resonate for readers. What are you waiting for? Write that essay! I can’t wait to read what you write!



5 Responses to “I’m Judging the Writer’s Digest Personal Essay Contest”

  1. Brahna Yassky

    Hi Estelle
    Thanks for the great post. Congrats on judging the essay contest and especially on just the top thirty which is still a lot
    I’m going to submit an essay and hope it makes it to you