Writing personal essays during a pandemic

Eugene author Melissa Hart will talk about writing personal essays during a joint online meeting of the Coast and Corvallis chapters of Willamette Writers on Monday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Everyone seems to be writing their COVID experience these days, but how do you write something that stand outs from the crowd? Eugene author Melissa Hart will help answer that question as the guest speaker at a joint online meeting of the Coast and Corvallis chapters of Willamette Writers on Monday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Since March, editors have struggled to respond to a torrent of pandemic-related submissions. “It’s tempting to dismiss COVID-themed writing as overdone and, well, just plain over,” Hart said. “However, personal essays published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies allow writers to explore our very specific experiences with the coronavirus, whether we’ve been ill, or found ourselves caring for homebound elderly parents while homeschooling our children, or volunteering to make hundreds of masks for health care workers and friends.”

In this lively and inspiring presentation, Hart will provide examples of pandemic-related personal essays that offer insight into this extraordinary time. She’ll show writers through guided assignments how they can honor their own experiences over the past nine months and craft creative pieces that impress editors and resonate with readers.

Hart’s essays have appeared in Real Simple, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Working Mother, The Advocate, Orion, Oregon Humanities, Woman’s Day and numerous other publications. She’s the author, most recently, of “Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens” (Sasquatch, 2019). For more information, visit Hart’s website at www.melissahart.com.

Willamette Writers, the largest writers’ organization in Oregon and one of the largest writers’ organizations in the United States, has not stopped for the pandemic. Since March, the seven regional chapters and Young Willamette Writers have been meeting online and will continue until it is safe to meet in person. Writers from anywhere in Oregon or beyond can participate for free via Zoom. For schedule and Zoom links, visit the www.willamettewriters.com website.

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