Support Porch programming and Nashville's literary community by becoming a member!

Writing Personal Essays that Resonate

Jul 5
Aug 23
6:00 - 8:00 PM CST
Christie Grotheim
The Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Pl., Nashville, TN 37204
Cancellation & Refund Policy >

This class is for writers of all levels who want to hone the craft of writing personal stories that resonate with readers and are relevant in the larger world. While experience in workshop-style classes is a plus, it’s not necessary. We will explore the elements that make a strong personal essay, such as voice, structure, tone, the narrative arc, scene versus observation, and dialogue, with an overarching emphasis on elevating the language and prose. We’ll read and discuss essays by Voltaire, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Annie Dillard, Madge McKeithen, and others as we study the wide variety of voices and forms within the genre of personal essay.

In this eight-week, generative course, short five-page essays will be assigned each week based on creative prompts, with the chance to choose one piece to revise and expand for the last session. A large portion of our time together each week will be dedicated to workshopping, so each student will have the opportunity to receive feedback from peers while honing their own editing skills.  The objective of this class is to gain a better understanding of the craft and develop a more confident voice on the page. You will come away with several new pieces as well as direction and inspiration for revision—as you work toward the ultimate goal of submitting the strong work produced to be published.  

Note: This class is scheduled to take place in person at Porch HQ. You must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate, and we will enroll a maximum of 10 participants. Masks are not required at this time, though we will revisit this policy as needed. Check our website and this listing for details before you attend class.

Christie Grotheim’s debut novel, The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live, was published in 2019 by Heliotrope Books. Her stories have been featured in, The New York Observer, Prometheus Dreaming, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, West View News,, and among others. Christie is co-founder of Crystal Radio Sessions, a monthly reading series in Manhattan’s legendary KGB Bar, and she facilitates monthly Draft Chats at The Porch in Nashville, where she is also an instructor—starting this summer! After twenty years in Manhattan, Grotheim relocated to Ashland City, TN with her husband, and when she’s not hard at work on her second novel—with pen in hand—she can be found with crowbar, nail gun, or power drill in hand, working with Niklas on renovating their fixer-upper, hammering away at their dream of opening an artists’ retreat in 2022. See more of her writing at and follow her on Instagram @christiegrotheim.

What Our Students Say

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first draft chat. Christie facilitated an open and friendly environment that made me, a novice writer, feel immediately comfortable and welcome. She steered the conversation so all participants provided and received ample and constructive feedback. I would highly recommend this class.”

“Writing is often done in solitude. Draft Chats let you meet other readers and writers, and the immediate feedback on your work is invaluable. Christie Grotheim’s experience as an author creates an atmosphere that is open and constructive, and, as a reader, she provides thoughtful critiques that help you reassess your own work with a fresh perspective. She is approachable and enthusiastic. But, equally important, she’s a fun hang. If you’re in Nashville and enjoy writing, check it out. Draft Chats are a great tool and Christie is wonderful to work with.”

more classes

Writing Setting: Reaching Deeper into Real and Imaginary Spaces

Lee Conell


Novel Jumpstart

Lucas Schaefer


Point of View and Voice

Katie McDougall