Greater Than the Sum of the Parts: Transforming Personal Essays into a Book

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm Eastern

Level Intermediate

The thought of shaping a book-length collection of personal essays can feel daunting and perhaps intimidating.


Additional Information

Essayists considering the possibility of turning their work into a collection face many questions. What order? What structure? Often, the biggest challenge is identifying which essays fit in the book.

However, just as writing an essay is often a process of discovery—unearthing something forgotten or finding something new—grouping essays into a book can also be a journey of discovery. As we shape a collection into a book, we learn something new about ourselves, those around us, or the world we inhabit.

In this webinar, you will learn practical strategies that will help you transform your essays into a book. Using these ideas and tools, you will learn something more about your writing and the larger story of your work.

In this webinar, you will:

  • RECOGNIZE how the same mindset of discovery we bring to writing essays will also serve us as we organize a book of essays
  • DISCOVER practical ways to identify the theme and connective tissue in your possible book of essays (or anthology or collection of short stories)
  • LEARN hands-on techniques for organizing your essays and ultimately feel empowered to gather your essays into a book

Not required for attending, but we suggest having a list of your essay titles at hand during the webinar.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar will best serve intermediate to advanced writers:

  • who are actively working to shape a book of essays OR
  • who wonder if a book of essays might be in their future

However, writers looking to organize a collection of other works–such as short stories or an anthology—will certainly glean useful information. Even beginning writers will learn strategies they can carry with them into their writing lives.

All registrants receive a recording.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


Out of stock

Become a Supporting Subscriber today and get up to 10% off your purchase.

Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

Webinar FAQs

  • How do I prepare for the webinar?

    We usually open the webinar 3-5 minutes prior to start time (see webinar invite) so you can check your audio settings and make sure everything is working properly on your end. The host will welcome everyone and ask you to introduce yourself and share where you’re joining from in the text-based chat. Participation in the chat is optional.

    The actual webinar program usually gets rolling five minutes after the start time. This is also when the recording starts if you watch the video afterward.

    No one can hear you or see you during the webinar. The only people who are visible and can be heard during the webinar are the instructor and host.

    Audio Settings:
    If you’re unable to hear any sound during the webinar, please look at the bottom left of your Zoom window for Audio Settings, and click the small arrow to check your settings.

    Getting familiar with the Zoom software

    There are several ways to interact with the presenter and other students during the webinar:

    *Live chat

    *Formal Q & A window

    Live Chat:
    The live chat is where you can exchange messages in real time with other students attending the webinar, as well as the instructor and host. Usually your chat visibility defaults to just the presenter/panelists. If you want everyone attending to see your chat message (and most people do), then you need to select “everyone” or “all panelists and attendees” in the chat window.

    How to banish the chat:
    We encourage you to make use of the live chat throughout the webinar because it’s one of the great benefits of joining the live event. However, some find the chat distracting and would like to turn it off. As of today, Zoom doesn’t allow students to disable the chat, but there is a way to effectively “banish” it if you do not want to see it:

    1. Click the Chat icon at the bottom of the Zoom window
    2. When the Chat appears on the side of your window, click the small arrow icon and select Pop Out, which separates the Chat into its own free-floating window
    3. Then, using your cursor, drag the Chat off the side or bottom of your screen

    Formal Q & A:

    All webinars include time for Q & A with the presenter. This will be included in the recording.

  • How can I download the webinar recording?

    In most cases, unless you see the download arrow under the recording window, you will not be able to download the recording. You will have ongoing access to the recording link to view at your leisure. You can download any supplemental materials provided by following the links in the webinar recording description. The recording will be sent to you three days after the live event.

  • I did not receive the recording for a webinar. Can you re-send it?

    Yes, we’re sorry this happened. These messages are sent from “[email protected]” and sometimes go missing. Please email us and we’ll respond with a link to the recording.

  • When will the recording be available?

    We ask for 3 days to send you the recording. If you do not receive it within that time frame, please contact us and we’ll assist you.

  • Can I still register for [x] webinar?

    If the webinar is not marked “sold out,” you can still join.