Online | Nonfiction | Workshop

4-Week Online Nonfiction Workshop: Writing the New York Times Essay

The New York Times is a powerful place to launch your story into the larger world, but the how-to’s for publication can seem mysterious. This course will demystify and breakdown the process, helping you sense and craft the story only you can tell. We will study the shape and techniques of successful NY Times personal essays by column (including Ties, Rites of Passage, Modern Love, Solver Stories, Sporting, Disability, Fixes and more), and participants will write, receive editorial feedback, hone the ability to give skillful feedback to others, and will learn the protocol for successfully submitting their work.

Participants will have the opportunity to workshop an essay and a revision of that same essay in the course, leaving with clear directions for revisions moving forward and a plan for submission. This course is best for those with some experience with workshop-style classes, and students are encouraged to enroll even if they don’t have a concrete essay idea in mind to begin with. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with the instructor for one 15-minute phone or Zoom meeting to talk through questions and essay goals.

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Leave with one workshopped essay through constructive, focused instructor and peer feedback on one essay submission and one revision

- Have a deeper sense of what makes personal essays compelling and a good fit for various Times columns

- Understand best practices for submissions

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students can expect weekly readings from various New York Times essay columns with pointed elements to look out for, and the responsibility of reading classmates’ work in advance while providing written feedback to be prepared for discussion. Students will write a new essay and revise it once and will receive peer and instructor feedback on both the initial draft and the revised essay.


Week 1: Introductions and discussion of individual intentions. An overview of the New York Times essay, and how to sense the story you need to tell. Discussion of the narrative arc and POV. Workshop #1

Week 2: Balancing an “arc of change” with flashbacks, balancing showing with telling (building blocks of the journey). Workshop #2

Week 3: Dialog, description and other elements that make your essay shine. Workshop #3

Week 4: Submission best-practices. Q&A. Workshop #4 

Sarah Herrington

Sarah Herrington's work has appeared in the New York Times Modern Love, Anxiety and OpEd columns, the LATimes, SFChronicle, Tin House, Slice, NYLON, Los Angeles Review of Books, Interview, Entropy, Poets and Writers magazine, Oprah magazine and other publications. She holds an MFA from Lesley University, is currently a Goldwater Fellow at New York University, and teaches at Loyola Marymount University. You can find her on Instagram here: @sarah.herrington


“I'm so thankful for the searching heart and mind of Sarah Herrington. Each line in her work is a clear path.”


"We’re fortunate to have this intense, imaginative voice rallying us against despair, reminding us that as long as we’re breathing, seeing, loving, and always moving, we’re fully alive and well.”

Leza Lowitz author of UP FROM THE SEA

"Sarah's writing guidance was invaluable. Her notes were insightful and always encouraging. I grew as a writer and a person working with her on my essay."

former student

“The edits and feedback from Sarah's course were both deep and concise and I felt supported to go deeper into my story and self while we worked together.”

former student

"Sarah offers a beautiful blend of supportive community, accessible tools, and time inside words. All goals and souls are honored in this space. Come curious, stay inspired, depart empowered.”

former student